We invite you to join us at our events throughout the year, and join us in the commitment to empower LGBTQ students . As dates and details are released for each event below, the title of the event will be hyperlinked for you to register and support Iowa Safe Schools. Questions? Email us here!
Iowa Safe Schools hosts a number of events throughout the year for students, educators, parents and families, community members and organizations, and corporate partners. While the events and themes are unique, the purpose and mission are grounded in a simple concept: Protect Kids. Stop Bullying. We are committed to supporting students and community members as they work to create a safer and more inclusive Iowa for all students, regardless of identity.
The annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth was created in 2005 with the purpose of creating a safe space for LGBTQ youth in the Midwest to gather, show their pride, and learn about ways to advocate in their communities. Through the years, the conference has grown to be the largest LGBTQ youth conference in the nation, and has featured celebrity guest speakers from all walks of life, including:
- Carmen Carrera (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
- Garrard Conley (Author of Boy Erased)
- Jonathan Van Ness (Netflix’s Queer Eye)
- Kim Chi (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
- Miz Cracker (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
- Kristin Beck (1st out transgender Navy Seal)
- Judy Shepard (Mother of Matthew Shepard)
- Moises Kaufman (Author of The Laramie Project)
- Keving Jennings (Founds of GLSEN)
- His Royal Highness Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil (1st out royal of India)
- Leisha Hailey (Actress)
- Miss Coco Peru (Comedian/Monologist)
- Blake Skjellerup (Olympian)
- Darren Young (WWE Superstar)
- Former Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (1st out world leader in the modern era)
The event also includes a reception the evening before the conference for adults and community members to come together and raise money towards scholarships for students to attend. No student has ever been turned away for their inability to pay for the conference. This is only made possible because of sponsorships and community members at the yearly reception.
The Iowa Safe Schools’ Spirit Awards is an annual gala dedicated to recognizing the successes of our LGBTQ community, friends and allies. This yearly event is a time to applaud the work of our partners, community members, and students who work everyday to inspire positive change. Awards presented at the gala include:
Advocate of the Year
GSA of the Year
College Group of the Year
Outstanding Media Coverage
Lynn Reinicke Educator of the Year
Ally of the Year
Partner in Progress
Featuring celebrity keynote speakers as well as moving stories from Iowa’s own community leaders and activists, the Spirit Awards is above all a celebration of our communities accomplishments to create a safer Iowa for LGBTQ youth. We invite you to join us!
Sweet Equality is an opportunity for parents, educators, organizations, legislators, and corporations to join Iowa Safe Schools in calling for a safer Iowa for LGBTQ youth. Enjoy desserts from local bakeries and your favorite cocktails all in the name of a safer Iowa for LGBTQ youth. Help us continue our fight for LGBTQ youth and our campaign to end conversion therapy in Iowa by bringing your friends and family for an evening of laughter, conversation, and networking.
Education Summits & Symposiums
All students deserve a safe environment to learn and a supportive place to form friendships. Violence, discrimination, and harassment both inside of school and out are significant barriers which stand in the way of students feeling safe and supported while also receiving a quality academic and scholastic experience.
The mission of Iowa Safe Schools’ various Summits & Symposiums is to inform educators, counselors, and administrators about effective prevention and response strategies to create safer and more welcoming school environments for all students. They feature experts in the field sharing best practices on victimization and how best to address incidents of bullying, harassment, violence, and discrimination. Attendees leave with all the tools they need to foster safety and security for all.
Education Summit & Symposium themes include:
Bullying Remediation Education
Held at the beginning of every school year, GSA Con is the fall kickoff event for GSAs in the state! Students have the opportunity to celebrate diversity of the LGBTQ community, collaborate across the spectrum of identities and experiences, and empower each other to build on successful student organizations. This is a FREE conference, and includes engaging workshops on community organizing, pride, and establishing a strong foundation for a GSA. In addition, students have the opportunity to network with other GSAs throughout the state, and advisors are encouraged to attend as there are workshop sessions tailored directly to adults.
Queer College Conference
The Queer College Conference is the only conference of its kind dedicated to addressing the barriers and adverse conditions facing LGBTQ college students and their faculty/staff advocates. Attendees work together through expert-facilitated workshops and peer-led conversations to build the tools and community necessary for sustainable change and impact!
Workshop tracks for both students and faculty/staff/community service providers ensure every attendee has the opportunity to build a network of their peers. Featuring exciting keynote speakers, opportunities to network with other students and community groups, and engaging workshops, the Queer College Conference is a must-attend event for college students and graduating high school seniors!
Looking for jobs, internships, and higher educational degrees can be stressful! Especially when it’s unclear whether a potential workplace or college will fully welcome and support all people and identities. The LGBTQ Career Expo is a safe space for high school and college students to meet with local professionals, employers, colleges, and universities who have shown a commitment to creating supportive environment for LGBTQ people.
High school juniors, seniors, and college students are invited to join Iowa Safe Schools for an afternoon of student networking with Iowa’s leading employers and degree programs! Mini-workshops presented throughout the event offer quick tips on interviewing, writing cover letters, professional dress, and being out in the workplace. Whether searching for a full-time job, summer internship, post-secondary education, or just looking to see what’s out there, the LGBTQ Career Expo helps students with finding their next steps.
Student Day at the Capitol
Each year, students from across Iowa have a chance to meet legislators, including members of leadership in both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate at 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.
Students will receive training on lobbying 101, messaging, telling your story, and current issues being faced by the LGBTQ community.