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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 11 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 41
25 years of Freely Speaking - Pioneering group helped hundreds of Gays find their voice
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25 years of Freely Speaking - Pioneering group helped hundreds of Gays find their voice

In 1988, George H.W. Bush was elected president, Sweden became the first nation to pass legislation protecting the rights of Gay people, and Freely Speaking Toastmasters was chartered in Seattle.

Toastmasters International is an organization that helps individuals build public speaking and leadership skills. Freely Speaking was one of the first clubs of Toastmasters anywhere to be created with the intent of supporting the LGBT and allied community.

The 25th anniversary celebration of the club brought together Freely Speaking members and guests for a luncheon on Sunday, September 29. 'I had become interested in Toastmasters and had previewed other clubs,' said club president Irene Calvo in her welcome address. 'It was when I came to Freely Speaking that I felt at home.' Over the years the club has welcomed hundreds of members representing all of the diversity to be found in Seattle.

Bill Sanders, the only founding member who is still active in the club, said, 'It was as important to me 25 years ago as it is today to have a diverse and welcoming place to learn and grow. I will always appreciate Freely Speaking for that.' As other members shared their thoughts and remembrances, the words 'thanks,' 'fun,' and 'learning' were said repeatedly. With 24 members the club continues to go strong.

Freely Speaking Toastmasters meets every Monday night (except holidays and vacation periods in August and December) from 7 to 8:30 pm at Fred Lind Manor on Capitol Hill. Guests are welcome. Those interested in more information can go to http://freelyspeaking.org. - Submitted by Freely Speaking Toastmasters

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