Speakers Bureau

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The Speakers Bureau is an educational service provided by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

Do you have questions about the experiences of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and more topics regarding the gender and sexuality spectrums?

  • When did you decide to come out?
  • What does “genderqueer” mean?
  • How can I be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community?
  • What resources are available at NIU for LGBTQ+ students and allies?

Invite us in. Ask us!

Speakers Bureau is made up of NIU students and community members who volunteer to speak about their experiences as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer individuals, cisgender and/or heterosexual allies. Speakers Bureau is available to speak for student groups, in classes, in residence halls or for other appropriate engagements.

Many people have questions about what it's like to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. Often they have never had an opportunity to ask these questions, or they have never felt comfortable asking what they really want to know. We provide trained speakers to answer questions as part of an open, informed and respectful discussion. For many of the audiences we encounter, our speaking engagements may be their first opportunity to learn about the very real human side of LGBTQ+ topics. Our goal is to offer opportunities for increased communication and understanding, which may help counter myths and stereotypes, as well as give a more in-depth look at the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals. We also hope to reach out to other lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people who may want resources to utilize on and off campus.

Speakers Bureau offers three types of speaking engagements:

Experience Panel
Generally, each engagement includes a panel of two to five individuals who will begin the presentation by introducing themselves and sharing some information about their own stories and backgrounds. The panelists then open the floor for questions from the audience in order to engage audience members in an interactive discussion. Our speakers can cover a wide variety of topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Coming Out Stars
Two or more students will come to your classroom or event and facilitate an activity called Coming Out Stars. This activity emphasizes the experience someone who belongs to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community could have while coming out to different people in their lives. Students will experience different narrative scenarios based on the color star they have been given. Coming Out Stars can be combined with the experience panel or LGBT 101.
LGBT 101
One student will facilitate a workshop that serves as a precursor to the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center’s Ally Training. Attendees will learn about the gender binary, terminology, the difference between gender and sex and how allies can help the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

Our ability to fulfill requests is dependent on the availability of speakers. For scheduling purposes, we ask that you contact us at least two weeks in advance of your event. Additional lead time increases the likelihood that we will be able to accommodate your request.

To request a panel presentation, please complete a request form.

Speaking Engagement Request Form.

If you are interested, submit an Speakers Bureau Interest Form. The Speakers Bureau graduate coordinator will then review your application and contact you.