133 Controversial Speech Topics That Will Hit Some Nerves

Controversy. It’s everywhere. On TV, in schools, at home. Everyone has an opinion, some stronger than others. What makes a topic controversial is not just the disagreements behind it, but the emotional reactions and how long those disagreements can last. Many go on for months, years, or even decades! 133 controversial speech topics that will keep your audience engaged!

The point of speaking on a controversial topic is to get people talking. Of course, there are going to be those that still disagree with you when all is said and done. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And that’s what you want. Behind your words is really a wake-up call to your audience. You are shedding light on a situation from your own perspective. When you hit a nerve, you know you’re doing something important.

Be fearless, be truthful, and go with your gut. But also, remember to be respectful and to stay relevant. There sometimes is a very fine line between speaking your mind and simply insulting others. And there is controversy when there is no relevancy. So go ahead, find a controversial speech topics below that speaks to you.

Politics and economics, law and order

  1. Abortion: Pro-life vs. pro-choice
  2. LGBTQ Rights
  3. Gun Control vs. Second Amendment rights
  4. Legalizing euthanasia for patients with terminal illnesses
  5. Using torture as an interrogation tactic
  6. Racial Profiling: Is there a place for it?
  7. Corruption in Journalism
  8. Refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in some American schools
  9. Black Lives Matter vs. Blue Live Matter
  10. Should the president govern the nation by a set code of ethics?
  11. Abolishing the Electoral College
  12. Financial protection for farmers against things like draught, and pests
  13. U.S. intervention in Iraq
  14. America should keeps its nose out of other nation’s problems
  15. National Deficit
  16. Will world peace ever be obtainable
  17. Political campaign finance reforms
  18. Racism: Playing the victim
  19. Nuclear arms control
  20. Government bailouts of banks and financial institutions
  21. Labor Unions
  22. Gay Marriage
  23. Salaries of professional athletes vs. salaries of military men and women
  24. The overuse of mudslinging in political races
  25. War on homelessness
  26. Low morality standards in America
  27. Prisoner’s rights
  28. Hate crimes
  29. College available to all
  30. Removing children from abusive homes to be put in “the system”
  31. Double standard between men and women in the working community
  32. Student loan debt
  33. Common Core: Is it helping or hurting?
  34. Ethics in medicine
  35. Improve the standards in nursing homes
  36. Capital Punishment and Death Penalty: Barbaric or necessary?
  37. TSA overregulation in airports
  38. Lowering the legal drinking age
  39. Driving age for teens
  40. Banning animal testing and experimentation
  41. Legalizing same-sex marriages
  42. High taxation rates
  43. Restrictions on 1st Amendment Rights (Freedom of Speech)
  44. Censorship: We have a right to know
  45. Illegal Immigration: Restrictions and laws
  46. Immigration: Doing it the legal way is hard
  47. Insanity plea: Just an excuse?
  48. Zero tolerance gun laws in schools
  49. Harsher punishment for those found guilty of sexual harassment
  50. Tobacco regulation
  51. Corruption on the police force
  52. Sex offender notification
  53. Tougher laws against discrimination
  54. Stronger child pornography laws
  55. Environment in jails contributing to future crimes committed
  56. Registering to be an organ donor
  57. All athletes receive mandatory drug tests
  58. Seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws
  59. Abolishment of the jury
  60. Adoptive parents must legally allow biological parents to remain in contact with children
  61. Holding charities accountable for donation allotment
  62. Stricter penalties for those found guilty of animal cruelty
  63. Abandoning the requirement for a warrant for search ad seizures
  64. Mandatory spaying and neutering of pets
  65. Using spanking for discipline
  66. Open adoption records
  67. Abusing the right to sue
  68. Detention facility tactics used
  69. Birth control regulation and availability
  70. Public access to personal health records
  71. Protection against medical malpractice
  72. The minimum wage and its impact on employment


  1. The legalization of marijuana
  2. The existence of ghosts
  3. A woman’s place being in the home
  4. Creation vs. Evolution
  5. Midwifery is a lost art
  6. Genocide
  7. Causes and effects of World War I
  8. Causes and effects of World War II
  9. Feminism and women’s rights


  1. Why the world would be better off without organized religion
  2. Religious opposition to divorce
  3. Unmarried couples living together

Science, biology, and health

  1. The negative health effects of consuming Genetically Engineered products
  2. Smokers with lung cancer collecting damages
  3. PETA and the war on animal cruelty, specifically as grounds for going vegan
  4. Meat industry using antibiotics
  5. Vaccinations: Mandatory for public school entrance
  6. Vaccinations: Do they work or are they hurting more than helping?
  7. The existence of aliens
  8. Drug testing for welfare applicants
  9. Biological warfare
  10. UFOs
  11. Men sharing birth control burden
  12. Fetal abuse during pregnancy
  13. America’s war on obesity
  14. Stem cell research
  15. The paranormal world
  16. Care for the mentally disabled 
  17. Eliminating “value size” options at fast food restaurants
  18. Renewable and Alternative Energy


  1. Polygamy legalization
  2. The impact of pornography on a marriage
  3. Sex on TV
  4. Gay couples raising children
  5. Homosexuals in the military
  6. Homosexuality and bisexuality
  7. The presence of adult content in shows and movies made for children
  8. Sexual orientation


  1. Tattoos and other body art
  2. Gambling


  1. Global Warming: Is it real or is it propaganda?
  2. Global climate change
  3. Recycling
  4. Going Green
  5. Putting restrictions on weekly garbage output


  1. Meaning of life
  2. Truth and falsehood
  3. The Scientific method as an ongling process


  1. Implanted GPS systems threatening privacy
  2. Risks of Wi-Fi and cellular signals to our health
  3. Fuel efficiency of vehicles
  4. Developing alternate forms of energy
  5. Cloning
  6. Drone warfare
  7. Getting and online education
  8. Overemphasis on computers in schools
  9. Plastic surgery
  10. Public surveillance technology


  1. Homeschooling and its effect on children
  2. The Arts: should students go for something more practical
  3. Schooling year-round
  4. Schools not teaching enough “life skills” classes
  5. Out-of-school suspension in schools
  6. Value of pre-schools
  7. Homework for students
  8. Surveillance in schools
  9. Protection and individual nourishment of children in “the system”
  10. Boycotting products made by killing or abusing animals


  1. Breastfeeding in public
  2. Are guns dangerous or are the people using them dangerous?
  3. The morality of hunting
  4. Mass school shootings and the media

“Controversy is Part of the nature of Art and Creativity” ( Yoko Ono) 

“You have to treat them like sh**” ( Donald Trump) 

” Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors” ( John Kennedy) 

“If you’ve got a big mouth and you’re controversial, you’re going to get attention” ( Simon Cowell) 

Your controversial speech topics will hit a few nerves. When you hit those nerves, you know you’re talking about something worthy of an argument.

The best thing you can do in selecting your topic is to choose something that makes your blood boil, something that you feel strongly for or against, something you have so much passion for that others can see it even when words don’t escape your mouth.

So, find what makes you tick, stand firm in your argument, and get people’s emotions involved. That’s what true persuasion is all about.