The Iowa GSA Network is a program of Iowa Safe Schools, with the mission of empowering students to create safe spaces in Iowa schools through youth activism and community support. It is designed to provide resources and support to LGBTQ and allied students in Iowa, as well as educators and GSA advisors. The Network connects GSAs across the state, and assist students interested in starting a GSA get their group off the ground.
What is a GSA?
Gay-Straight Alliances or Gender-Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) are student-run clubs or groups in schools that serve as a safe space for all students, regardless of their orientation or gender identity/expression. GSAs provide a place for students to meet, support and listen to each other about their experiences, talk about issues related to orientation and gender identity/expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia in their school.
If you have a GSA, we want you to be a part of the GSA Network! Joining the Network will provide you with the opportunity to interact with other GSAs around the state, access a wide range of resources for LGBTQ students, and be the first to get your hands-on exclusive GSA Network swag!
What is the GSA Network and what does it offer students?
The GSA Network is a program of Iowa Safe Schools, with the mission of empowering students to create safe spaces in Iowa schools through youth activism and community support. It is designed to provide resources and support to LGBTQ and allied students in Iowa, as well as educators and GSA advisors. The Network connects GSAs across the state, and assist students interested in starting a GSA get their group off the ground.
The GSA Network is designed to allow students to create change through active involvement! Our ultimate goal of enriching LGBTQ youth lives through partnerships with student leaders and GSAs is accomplished through collaboration with GSA leaders, advisors, and community partners.
The GSA Network offers resources, support, and direct interactive services to GSA groups, students, and their advisors. The Network can provide your GSA with an e-toolkit of materials and ideas to help the group:
The GSA Network also helps groups connect with each other! We believe that students should collaborate with and support each other, and we help provide spaces for GSAs to do just that.
Some of the events the Network hosts for students include:
Founded by Zachary Bales-Henry, the ZBH Courageous Scholarship Award recognizes LGBTQ and Allied students across Iowa who work to create welcoming and inclusive spaces for others. To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must:
If awarded the ZBH Courageous Scholarship, recipients must agree to:
For more information on the scholarship and to apply, please download this 2018-2019 ZBH Scholarship.
The Iowa Safe Schools’ Student Leadership Council (SLC) is the cornerstone of the Iowa GSA Network. The members of the SLC represent Iowa high school LGBTQ and allied students ages 16-18 who are actively involved in their GSA, and are advocates for safe and inclusive schools. SLC members engage in projects they are passionate about and explore their strengths and goals for being a more impactful leader. Iowa Safe Schools is elevating tomorrow’s LGBTQ leaders, empowering students to create positive change in their communities.
For the 2019-2020 school year, they’ll be dedicating their time and passion to represent the many voices of GSAs across Iowa. The SLC will meet to discuss ways that GSAs and LGBTQ students can empower themselves to create safe and affirming schools for all students. They’ll help the Iowa GSA Network create youth-centered resources, programming and campaigns; motivate GSAs to reach their full potential; and represent Iowa Safe Schools in the media as well as conferences and events.
Some of the projects student leaders will work on this year:
Iowa Safe Schools is excited to continue and build upon the legacy of the GSA Conference through the Iowa GSA Network program!
Students will have the opportunity to:
When: Saturday, September 28, 2019
Where: Lincoln High School, Des Moines, IA
How do I sign-up? Click here to register!
What else should I know? Breakfast items and lunch will be provided. This is a FREE conference, and students must register to attend! There will be opportunities to meet with Iowa Safe Schools and Iowa GSA Network staff, as well as network with local businesses and organizations.
9:00: Welcome & Opening Speakers
9:45: 10 Min. Break
9:55: Student Caucus
12:25: Workshop 1: Engage
1:10: 10 min. break
1:20: Workshop 2: Impact
2:05: 10 min break
2:15: Workshop 3: Elevate
2:15: Closing Session
*This schedule is tentative and subject to change.