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SpeakOUT’s Board Readying for New Directions

Are you looking for a way to give back to the LGBTQ community?

There is something very exciting about reaching a crossroads and figuring out what your next direction will be. Exciting and challenging. SpeakOUT is at such a crossroads and we are currently looking for board members who are interested in volunteering their time to plan the future of one of Boston’s oldest LGBTQ organizations! Please pass this information along to others who you think would be interested in making a difference for LGBTQ lives.

SpeakOUT is the oldest LGBTQ speakers bureau in the nation, established in 1972. We are a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. We train members of the LGBTQ and allies community to tell their personal stories as a form of activism to audiences in schools, colleges, churches, synagogues, service organizations, businesses, and government. Our mission is to work to create a world free of homo-bi-trans-phobia and other forms of discrimination.

Responsibilities of board members:

  • Attend board and committee meetings and functions, such as SpeakOUTings.
  • Serve on committees or task forces and offers to take on special projects.
  • Understand the organization’s mission, services, policies, and programs, and inform others about the organization.
  • Actively recruit, orient, and train new members.
  • Follow conflict of interest and confidentiality policies.
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and fulfillment of contractual obligations.
  • Maintain knowledge of the organization and personal commitment to its goals and objectives.

Ways you can contribute to the board:

  • Fundraising and development knowledge
  • Networking within the LGBTQ community
  • Organizational development
  • Event planning
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Public speaking and/or training ability

How to Apply:

If you are interested in learning more about board service, please contact Ellyn Ruthstrom, Executive Director at or call 877-223-9390. Please supply a resume and references.

Happy Pride!

SpeakOUT logoThis year I will be celebrating my twentieth Pride in Boston. It’s remarkable to think how this yearly ritual for our community has evolved and changed since I first joined the throngs along Boylston Street. What used to be considered a political march is now much more a celebration of the diverse ways LGBTQ people are represented within the greater community at large. There are varied opinions about whether this is a positive development or not, but whatever your politics it’s hard to deny the impressiveness of seeing thousands of people from all walks of life making their way through the streets of Boston together.

The bikers leading the way and revving their engines to signal the start; church and school groups proudly marching with their banners; dancing boys shaking their booties to the pulsing music on the club floats; political figures shaking hands and looking for votes; the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence spreading joy wherever they go; parents pushing their children in strollers; the PFLAG contingent that always gets heartfelt applause as they pass by; the Hat Sisters in their new ensembles; corporate groups in their matching t-shirts; and the eager crowd cheering and jockeying for their favorite colored pride beads and other cool swag.

Those are just a few of the many snapshots of Pride I look forward to every year. We are such a vibrant and multi-faceted community and on our high holiday we DO know how to celebrate! SNAP!

speakouttableatcityhallplazaSpeakOUT will be staffing a table at the Pride Festival again this year. As one of the older LGBTQ organizations in Boston, SpeakOUT has the distinct pleasure of having decades of volunteers who’ve spoken for us and who love the work we continue to do and we often get to reconnect at Pride. We’ll be spreading the word of our mission to tell our stories and to fight homo-bi-transphobia in the world. Come by and say hello to me and to the other volunteers at the table and pick up our flashy new pens and get tattooed by our volunteers…much less painful than the real thing.

Happy Pride, everyone!

Ellyn Ruthstrom, Executive Director

SpeakOUT Announces a New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of SpeakOUT, the nation’s oldest gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer speakers bureau, is pleased to announce Ellyn Ruthstrom has been named Executive Director for the organization. Ruthstrom has been active in Boston’s LGBTQ community for 20 years and has been the president of the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC), the oldest national bi organization in the U.S., for the past 8 years.

E Ruthstrom headshotIn her role as the BRC president, she co-organized the first White House Roundtable on Bisexual Issues in 2013 and has been instrumental in establishing the Bisexual Leadership Roundtable, a network for activists and writers across the country. Ruthstrom focused her career in publications and nonprofits, including her work as Editor in Chief of Teen Voices Magazine and Project Manager of the Hood Children’s Literacy Project at Lesley University. She’s also a writer and editor and has published in The Women’s Review of Books,, The Review Review, and other print and online publications.

“I’ve been a speaker for SpeakOUT for several years and it’s an honor to now be charged with taking the organization to the next level.” Ruthstrom said. “We are planning new directions and new ways to engage with the community. We will continue to focus on our mission to create a world free of homo-bi-trans-phobia by telling the truths of people’s lives, but we are also looking at other ways that our work can help serve the LGBTQ community.”

For over 40 years, SpeakOUT has provided training in public speaking to build the skills of its volunteer speaker network – speakers who conduct informal, interactive speaking engagements in settings like high schools, colleges, businesses, churches, synagogues, and community service organizations. The group’s mission focuses on using personal storytelling and sharing the truths of people’s lives to open minds and change attitudes.

SpeakOUT board member Bill Barnert, who has been a speaker since 1980, said, “SpeakOUT is about to move into a new stage of growth. We are excited to have Ellyn join us as Executive Director, and look forward to building a better, stronger SpeakOUT with her. With Ellyn’s leadership, we hope to reach many more people than we would as an all-volunteer agency.”

“Some people might question whether we still need an LGBTQ speakers’ bureau in 2014 in Massachusetts,” Barnert commented. “Come with us to one of our high school or middle school speaking engagements, to our visits to church or synagogue youth, to colleges, grad schools, medical & educational groups, or businesses, and you will see how much work still needs to be done, even here in the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.”

Ruthstrom added, “I’ve seen the individual change that comes from the personal connection and open dialogue that SpeakOUT excels in and I’m excited to be envisioning where this dynamic organization will be headed in the future.”

Ruthstrom earned her bachelor’s in English from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio and her Master’s in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University.



Ellyn Ruthstrom

SpeakOUT Boston