Thursday, April 30, 2009


After posting my evaluation, I thought I'd post another pretty big assignment in my life. Last semester I took a public speaking class. For my final speech I decided to talk about homosexuality. I took a slightly different approach. My goal was to simply increase communication about same-sex attractions and clarify that while people don't choose their attractions, they should be free to pursue happiness in whatever way they see fit.

I was so nervous, because I started my speech by reliving a night last January when I was holding a knife in my hand contemplating suicide. Then I was going to out myself to the whole class. Adrenaline was definitely pumping. It was so awesome. One girl had a look of complete disgust on her face from the moment I pulled out the knife. Other than her, everyone was so supportive and totally cool about it. There was this one guy who I had worked really hard to develop a friendship with over the semester. I was worried about how my disclosure would affect our relationship. It strengthened it. He came up to me and told me that he has a bunch of friends from high school who are gay. We've even done stuff together this semester. It's really cool.

The best part, though, was the way my teacher responded. We talked after class for half an hour. She isn't a member, but she is an active Christian. She thanked me like a dozen times for helping her understand. She asked a bunch of questions and we talked about the gospel and the atonement quite a bit. It was such an amazing feeling. Then she asked if I had any other groups of such that I could give my speech to. I told her not really. So she said that I ought to come into the speech lab and record my speech as an example speech for future students. I thought that was totally awesome. So I did.

So, coming out to people is such a rush. I love doing it. It feels so good to try to help others understand this challenge.

So the formatting in blogger sucks. Good luck with my outline.

Topic: Homosexuality
General Purpose: To persuade
Specific Purpose: My purpose is to persuade my audience to speak up to those within their sphere of influence, especially youth, about homosexuality.
Thesis: My audience should speak out about homosexuality because ignorance about the issue has serious consequences and this solution is simple, yet effective.

Attention Step

I. (Attention Getter) "I'd like to take you to a kitchen table in a small apartment."
A. I was ready to end my life.
1. Then, I realized that I needed to make my death look like an accident.
2. About this time my wife walked out of the bedroom, and after overcoming her initial shock and panic at the sight of this knife in my hand, she made sure I got the help I needed.
B. Stuart Matis wasn't as lucky.
1. On February 25, 2000 in Santa Clara California, Stuart put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. (Mansfield, 2004)
2. Every year, as many as 800,000 youth ages 15-24 attempt suicide; 250,000 of those share one common trait---they are attracted to members of their own gender.(CDC, 2008; CDC, 2005)
C. There are a number of word that evoke meaning and emotion.
II. (Topic Justification) Homosexuality is one of the most controversial social issues of our time.
A. Those who speak loudest about the controversy come from the furthest extremes of the issue.
B. These voices continue to polarize the population, leaving the middle ground unspoken.
III. (Credibility Statement) My name is Kevin Lindley.
A. I am happily married and active in my Church.
B. And I am a 5 on Kinsey's Scale if Sexual Orientation.
IV. (Preview Statement) I am going to explain how ignorance about sexual orientation has contributed to the controversy surrounding this issue, then, I will propose a simple, yet effective solution to the problem, and show why this solution is so important.

Transition: First I want to talk about the problem of misinformation regarding homosexuality.

Problem Step

I. (Statement of the Problem) Before we decide if there is a problem with the information currently available to our youth, we should ask, what is the truth about homosexuality?
A. The exact reasons why some people experience homosexual, or same-sex attractions are unknown.
1. (Evidence-Authority) Many scientist believe that genetic nature and the environment play complex roles in influencing an individual's sexual attractions. (APA, 2008)
2. One thing is certain, most individuals experience no choice in the development of sexual attractions. (APA, 2008)
B. Individuals who experience homosexual attractions should have the freedom to pursue happiness in whatever way they choose.
1. Contrary to what many pro-gay activists proclaim, there is scientific research to prove that many individuals can reduce their same-sex attractions and find happiness "living the straight life." (Spitzer, 2003)
2. However, many individuals with homosexual attractions choose to seek same-sex relationships.
a. These individuals can find happiness as well.
b. Regardless of the majority's beliefs, no minority should be denied the opportunity to seek happiness.
C. The problem is that vocal activists on either side would have the public see only black or white.
1. Religious extremists would have those with same-sex attractions feel that they are "sinners;" they claim that the only option is to try to change their sexual orientation.
2. Meanwhile, pro-gay activists reject that as religious bigotry and assert that the only option for such individuals is to embrace their homosexuality and pursue same-sex relationships.
3. The truth lies somewhere in between.
4. Individuals who experience same-sex attractions do so at no fault of their own, and so they can't be held responsible.
5. All individuals should be free to pursue happiness in the way that seems best to them.
II. (Extent and Seriousness of the Problem) So What? This lack of balanced information has serious consequences.
A. A very large number of people experience homosexual attractions.
1. While 4.1% of Americans identify as gay or bisexual, as many as 15% experience some degree of same-sex attraction. (Gate, 2006; CDC, 2005: Fergusson, 2005)
2. That is 32 million individuals, or 20 times the entire population of Idaho.
3. That equals roughly 1 in 20 who are gay, but 3 in 20 who experience homosexual attraction.
4. 30% of Gay and Lesbians report having attempted suicide at least once. (Remfardi, 1998)
B. The US government has found that gay or lesbian teens are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their "straight" peers.
1. In fact, gay and lesbian teens account for as many as 30% of all teen suicides in the US. (US Dep. HHS, 1989)
2. That means that 1,600 teens will commit suicide this year because they are attracted to members of their own gender.
3. Every six hours another parent or brother or sister will find a teen dead.
C. Gay and Lesbian youth do face increased prejudice and discrimination.
1. The APA and 12 other mental health organizations produced a research based pamphlet that reported that gay and lesbian youth do experience prejudice, discrimination and even violence. (Just the Facts, 2008)
2. The APA reports that virtually 100% of Gays and Lesbians experience verbal harassment and abuse. (APA, 2008)
3. One study showed that homosexual youth are more likely to miss school due to fear, being threatened by other students, or property being damaged. (Garofalo, 1998)
4. Another study found that 78% of all teens feel gay and lesbian youth are teased or bullied too much. (NMHA, 2002)
5. Bobby Griffith did a backflip off a highway overpass into an oncoming semi truck, because he lacked suppport from family and friends. (Miller, 1992)
III. (Audience Involvement) Whether they know it or not, this audience is affected by the lack of correct knowledge about homosexuality.
A. 85% of this audience reported knowing someone who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
1. Remember that 1 in 3 gays, lesbians, and bisexuals attempt suicide.
2. Also, 72% of gays and lesbians report being suicidal-compared to 10% of heterosexuals.
3. (Motive Appeal-Love and affection) Many of you have someone you care about who has been suicidal because of their sexual orientation.
B. Also less than half of this class feels that gay and lesbian teens are bullied too much.
C. However, more than 75% of you would still maintain a relationship if your friend told you he or she was gay.

Transition: It is obvious that America has a problem on our hands, so what are we going to do about it?

Solution Step

I. (Evaluation of proposed alternative solution) Many people want to combat prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
A. One of the most common approaches is to try to make laws regarding homosexuality.
1. (Evidence-Analogy) As we saw with racial prejudice and discrimination laws did not change what people believe.
II. (Statement of solution) What this world needs is for people who know the truth to speak up.
III. (Explanation of solution) This is an easy and powerful approach.
A. Correct knowledge about a subject often reduces the prejudice and stereotypes surrounding it.
B. (Stylistic Device-Metaphore) By correctly educating those around us, especially the youth, we can erase the ugly shroud of intolerance and cruelty that smudges our society.
IV. (Illustrate/demonstrate effectiveness) This solution is very powerful and effective.
A. (Evidence- Authourity)The APA recommends that heterosexual people help others reconsider their attitudes toward homosexuality. (APA, 2008)
B. (Evidence- Authourity)Mary Griffith belives that correct education about homosexuality would have prevented her son's death. (Griffith, 1988)
C. (Evidence- Authourity) Talking about sexual orientation at a young age helps prevent a child from developing prejudical attitudes.
D. (Evidence- Authourity)(Motive Appeal-Compassion and Understanding) Talking about homosexual orientation also helps pass on universal values of respect and understanding to children. (Ponton, 2006)
V. (Refutation) Some may say that we shouldn't talk about homosexuality, but that is absurd.
A. I have heard that we shouldn't discuss homosexuality, because we might encourage kids to experiment.
B. Talking about homosexuality doesn't increase experimentation.
C. Evidence shows that this argument is not valid.
1. (Evidence-Analogy) Studies have shown that talking to youth about sex does not increase sexual activity.

2. (Evidence-Authority) Dr. Lynn Ponton of the National Mental Health Association believes that talking with kids about sexuality is beneficial not harmful. (Ponton, 2006)
D. I have shown that fear of experimentation is not a reasonable argument against discussing homosexuality.

Transition: Now that I've explained my solution, let's look at speaking out can affect our future.

Visualization Step

I. (Negative Visualization) If we stand by and let vocal extremists control the information our youth receive, more youth will commit suicide.
A. More parents will experience what John and Maria Melo did.
1. John Melo had to cut his son, Joshua, down from the tree Joshua used to hang himself.
2. Maria Melo also retold her experiences about her son's suicide.
3. The interesting thing is that Joshua wasn't gay; his peers just bullied him because they claimed he was.
B. As the two sides become more polarized, the argument over gay rights will become more vicious.
II. (Positive Visualization) On the other hand, if we speak out about homosexuality, our youth will grow up in safety.
A. Fewer youth will choose to end their own lives.
B. Fewer youth will feel unsafe at school, in their neighborhoods, and in their families.
C. More youth will learn compassion and empathy towards people who are different.
D. More youth will find happiness as they try to live with their own sexuality.

Transition: That is a world I want my children to grow up in; exactly how can we create this kind of world.

Action Step

I. We need to talk more about homosexuality, without taking part in extremist attitudes.
A. Our youth need to know the truth about same-sex attractions.
1. Youth need to know that sexual attractions are not chosen, that they are not bad because of who they're attracted to.
2. Youth need to know that they have the freedom to choose how they react to theri attractions.
3. Youth need to know that it is not okay to bully or tease others for any reason.
B. All individuals need to know the truth about homosexuality.
1. We can stand up to and correct those who make prejudiced comments.
2. We can and should make it clear that we don't approve of intolerance.
C. Speaking up doesnt' take a great effort on our part.
1. Simply take advantagesof opportunities to talk when they come up.
2. It does take some courage to talk about topics like sexuality.
3. However, the benefits outweigh the effort it takes.
II. (Punch Statement) We must raise our voices because one teen attempting suicide every two minutes over their sexual attractions, is one teen too many.

Audience Analysis Paragraph:

My audience consists of a population of diverse ages. A majority are bween the ages of 18 and 25. The majority are female. 85% of my audience is exclusively heterosexual. Most of my audience would be okay with a gay friend. Less than half feel that gay and lesbian teens are bullied too much. Less than half would favor adding sexual orientation to school curriculum. I don't really have to convince them that they should not be prejudiced against homosexuals. My biggest challenge is going to be to get them to overcome their fear and discomfort regarding speaking about homosexuality. I plan to help them by appealing to their compassion using gay teen suicide information


Major Premise: If something is causing death among our youth, it should be fixed.
Minor Premise: Ignorance about homosexuality is causing death among our youth.
Conclusion: Ignorance about homosexuality should be fixed.

Major Premise: If we want to change the current situation, we need to change how we act.
Minor Premise: We want to reduce the number of sexual orientation related suicided.
Conclusion: We need to change how we act.

Inductive Evidence:

I. (Evidence-Authority)Many scientist believe that genetic nature and the environment play complex roles in influencing an individual's sexual attractions.
1) Organization of Professionals. Yes, they are related to the field.
2) Yes, this organization must be free from bias
3) Yes, this authority used to believe that homosexuality was a mental illness
4) Yes, the APA maintains a very consistent point of view on homosexuality.
5) No, the APA continually bases their views on scientific research.

II. (Evidence-Statistics) 4.1% of Americans identify as gay or bisexual.
1) Yes, the American Government is reliable.
2) Yes, the statistic has been gathered within the last 3 years.
3) Yes, the CDC used a large sample size (12,571) and the sample is a nationally representative multistage area probability sample.

Stylistic Devices:

I. (Stylistic Device-Metaphore) We can erase the ugly shroud of intolerance and cruelty that smudges our society.
II. (Stylistic Device-Anaphora)Fewer youth will. . ., Fewer youth will. . ., More youth will. . ., More youth will. . .

Motive Appeals:

I. (Motive Appeal-Love and affection)Many of you have someone you care about who has been suicidal because of their sexual orientation.
II. (Motive Appeal-Compassion and understanding)Talking about homosexual orientation also helps pass on values of respect and understanding to children.


American Psychological Association. (2008). Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality. Washington, DC: Author. [Retrieved from topics/sorientation.pdf.]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). Sexual Behavior and Selected Health Measures: Men and Women 15–44 Years of Age, United States, 2002. Washington, DC: Mosher, William D., Retrieved from []

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). WISQARS Fatal Injuries: Mortality Reports. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from []

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Suicide: Facts at a Glance. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from []

Fergusson, David M., et. al. (2005). Sexual orientation and mental health in a birth cohort of young adults. Psychological Medicine, 35, pp 971-981

Garofalo, R.,Wolf, R. C., Kessel, S., Palfrey, J., & Du Rant, R. H. (1998). The association between health risk behaviors and sexual orientation among a school-based sample of adolescents. Pediatrics, 101, 895-902.

Gates, Gary J. (2006). Same-sex Couples and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Population: New Estimates from the American Community Survey. Retrieved from [

Griffith, Mary. Testimony. Los Angeles School Committee, Public Hearings. June 23, 1988.

Just the Facts Coalition. (2008). Just the facts about sexual orientation and youth: A primer
for principals, educators, and school personnel. Washington, DC: American Psychological
Association. Retrieved from []

Kevin Caruso. (2006) Remembering an Angel: Joshua Melo. Retrieved from [ memorials/joshua-melo.html]

Mansfield, Ty, et. al. (2004). In Quiet Desperation. Salt Lake City, UT: Author.

Miller, B. Jaye. "From Silence to Suicide: Measuring a Mother's Loss." Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992. pp. 88-89.

National Mental Health Association. What does gay mean? Teen Survey. Alexandria, Va: Author. Retrieved from []

Ponton, Lynn. (2006) What does gay mean? How to talk to kids about sexual orientation and prejudice.
Alexandria, VA: National Mental Health Association. Retrieved from [ whatdoesgaymean.]

Remafedi, G., Frendh, S., Story,M., Resnick,M. D., & Blum, R. (1998). The relationship between suicide risk and sexual orientation: Results of a population-based study. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 57-60.

Spitzer, Robert L. (2003) Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? Archives of Sexual Behavior. 32. pp 403-417

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Gay Male and Lesbian Youth Suicide," by Paul Gibson, Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, ed. Marcia R. Feinleib, Washington, DC, January 1989.


Scott said...

I'm very impressed with what you've presented here, and would love to have heard the speech in person. It's a very fair and balanced approach to the subject that a lot of people (on both sides of the issue) could learn from.


Bravone said...

Nice job Kevin!

Kevin Lindley said...

Thanks Guys.