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 advisers. 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:
The ZBH Courageous Scholarship Award recognizes LGBTQ and Allied students across Iowa who work to create welcoming and inclusive spaces for others. For more information on the scholarship, 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 2018-2019 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:
Stay up to date on what the Student Leadership Council is working on by following their social media accounts!
Join us on January 29, 2019 for the Student Day at the Capitol. For the past 15 years, Iowa Safe Schools has worked in the Iowa Legislature to pass important legislation supporting LGBTQ youth and fighting back against attacks to take away protections. Thanks to the work of students in conjunction with Iowa Safe Schools staff, the Iowa Legislature passed our state’s anti-bully law and extended civil rights to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
On Tuesday, Januray 29, 2019, students from across Iowa will have a chance to meet legislators and advocate for issues that are important to them! Policy issues we will be discussing include banning the prehistoric practice of conversion therapy, bullying prevention legislation, and fighting to ensure LGBTQ individuals continue to be included in civil rights law.
Student Day at the Capitol Agenda
9:00-10:00AM – Registration & Breakfast
10:00-11:30AM – Advocacy 101 Training with Representative Liz Bennett
11:30-12:30PM – Lunch with Senator Matt McCoy
12:30-3:30PM – Tour of the Iowa Capitol and meet with legislators
Additional information will be made available as the date gets closer. You will have the opportunity to meet with your local legislator and meet with others working on behalf of the LGBTQ community. Lunch and breakfast will be provided. Online registration for Student Day at the Capitol will open later this year. If you plan to attend and have questions about the event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you cannot attend this important day, email email@example.com and a staff member will be able to meet with your GSA or student group to discuss policy. Or, if you cannot make this date but are interested in visiting the Iowa Capitol, let us know and we can help provide a tour and visit with legislators!