I’m the Secretary/Webmaster of Freely Speaking Toastmasters, a club whose membership is primarily LGBT, but is open to all. We were chartered in September 1988. I joined in 2004, after I left Microsoft and hence Microsoft Toastmasters.
We’re so proud of being 20 years old that we’ve celebrated twice! We had a brunch for the current membership back in September, and tonight we had a party for current, former, and would-be members.
Not a huge turnout, but a lot of fun. Many of us spoke about what had drawn us to FSTM and what set it apart from other clubs for us.
I’ve been a member (and officer) of three Toastmasters clubs, FSTM, Microsoft Toastmasters, and Atlas Impressions—a club that I helped found last year, before I left Atlas. The two work clubs are fine in their own right, but each of them allots only an hour for the meeting, which is barely enough. FSTM meets 7:00–8:30pm on Monday evenings at Group Health on Capitol Hill, and the extra half hour allows for a more relaxed pace. In particular, not only does each prepared speech get a formal evaluation, it also gets five minutes of open evaluation from the audience. The open evaluation is unusual in Toastmasters clubs. I feel that it engages the audience and it invariably gives rise to several suggestions and criticisms that the evaluator overlooked. FSTM is much more social than the two work clubs, and the membership is rather more diverse than high-tech workers.