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Dear SpeakOUT Supporters,

Like many of you, I spent part of this past Memorial Day weekend out of town relaxing with family and friends. At one point during a barbeque, a friend of mine came over to my wife and I with her 14-year-old step-daughter, Emily, by her side. "Emily wants to tell you both something," my friend said, "but can you tell her about that speakers bureau you work with, first?"

I happily explained that SpeakOUT is the nation's oldest LGBTQIA speakers bureau, and that we send speakers from all across the spectrum into settings like workplaces, religious classes, colleges and universities, and, perhaps most importantly, into middle schools and high schools just like Emily's.

"And you just tell your life stories," Emily asked, "in front of everyone?" "We do," I said, "Well, short versions of them -- we try to bring alive the experience of being LGBTQIA for people to help increase understanding and decrease prejudice."

"I wish we had SpeakOUT in our school here," Emily said, softly, "it would make things a lot easier for me."

At that point Emily came out to us as bisexual, explaining that she was not yet comfortable enough to be out at school, but was coming out to adult friends and family in her life to gain support and confidence from "her tribe."

We hugged and congratulated her, and then talked about the hopeful sign that her school has a newly reinvigorated GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance). We mentioned several online resources she could check out. I told her I would help her research to see if there is a similiar organization to SpeakOUT in her area.

Moments like these remind me of the importance of what we do at SpeakOUT: we make it easier for LGBTQIA people to come out, to be themselves, to thrive, in a school, or a workplace, or a spiritual home, or some other setting that understands them a bit better after one of our visits.

We do it for students like Emily who are trying to figure out how to safely come out. We do it for people navigating how to transition gender identities at work. We do it for those wondering how they could ever feel comfortable being themselves in the classroom, in their worship community, in their family.

We're there for Emily and thousands of people like her, every year, because of your support and that of others like you!

As we celebrate SpeakOUT Day on Friday, June 3, we've got a rare opportunity on hand: a generous donor has pledged up to $2,000 in a matching gift for this fundraising effort! Can you help us raise $2,000 and secure that match? Every amount will help. We need to meet this challenge by midnight on Friday, so please make your donation today.

Thank you! With your help, we'll be there for even more people like Emily in the years ahead.

George Grattan
Board Chair, SpeakOUT Boston

There are lots of great ways to support and connect with SpeakOUT.

Here are a few ideas:

Keep up-to-date with SpeakOUTings and other upcoming organizational events by signing up for the SpeakOUT meetup group.

Also, visit the SpeakOUT blog for interesting musings from the SpeakOUT community.

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Then choose "SpeakOUT"

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