Schedule & Workshops

15th Annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth Schedule

This year’s conference is going to look a little different! Instead of a strict schedule at a conference center, all of our resources will be available online! You will get to go through the material at your own pace! It’s the same material, just from the comfort of your own home! Here are just a few of the workshops we have planned!

Soldier of Change – Steve Snyder-Hill

Having endured years of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” which passively encouraged a culture of fear and secrecy for gay soldiers, Snyder-Hill submitted a video  to a Republican primary debate held two days after its repeal. The video was booed, because it asked for the Republicans’ thoughts regarding the repeal and their plans to extend spousal benefits to legally married gay and lesbian soldiers. In this session, Synder-Hill will share his personal testimony and experiences in advocacy, and the ways we can continue to advocate for LGBTQ youth!

DRAG 101: How to Make A Drag Potato!

Glammed-up drag potatoes have been sweeping the Midwest! Listen to a gaggle of Drag Queens cackle away as they teach you how to make this classic vegetable ready for the runway!

Inclusive Sex Ed and Knowing YOU! – Planned Parenthood North Central States

You’re growing up, and you may have a lot of questions about health, nutrition, and growing up. In this session, experts will be present to help students understand the ways to stay healthy and understand their bodies with medically accurate, age-appropriate, affirming, and honest information.

DRAG 101: Dance, Dance, Dance

Drag performers are some of the best moves for the dance floor. Learn how to dance like your favorite local drag queens in this interactive session!

Laws & Rights in High Schools – Thomas Mayes, Iowa Department of Education

Understanding the law can be intimidating, especially if you feel your rights have been violated. This session will cover in detail both state and federal law regarding protections for transgender students, how these protections have evolved over time, and subsequent guidance to schools, teachers, parents, and students on what rights transgender students have at school.

DRAG 101: Make-Up Tutorial

Learn the tips and tricks for making your face go from gloom to GLAM from our gaggle of cackling drag queens!

Healthcare 101: Understanding the Needs of LGBTQ Students – Jennifer and Kyle Christiason, Cedar Valley LGBTQ Clinic

LGBTQ people face numerous health disparities as well as stigma, discrimination, and a lack of access to informational resources and quality care. In this session, healthcare providers will be present to talk with educators about the unique healthcare needs of LGBTQ people and the ways we can de-stigmize access to care.

Out in the Classroom: Creating Inclusive Spaces for ALL Educator – Ryan Penning, Valley Southwoods School

While are classrooms are growing in diversity, the population of people pursuing a career in education is prodominately white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied individuals. In this session, the 2019 Iowa Safe Schools Educator of the Year Ryan Penning will be sharing his experiences as an out teacher. He will share his experiences as an educators and highlight the ways to create inclusive spaces for both students AND staff.

2020 Rainbow Forum, Featuring 2020 United States Senate Candidates

We are excited to announce the first ever U.S. Senate Rainbow Forum – an LGBTQ-focused public forum for 2020 U.S. Senate candidates from Iowa. This event is part of the 15th Annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth. You will need to register for the Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth to attend this forum. Questions will be taken from moderators and the audience related to LGBTQ issues.

The following candidates have confirmed:

  • Adm. Mike Franken
  • Kimberly Graham
  • Theresa Greenfield
  • Eddie J. Mauro
  • Cal Woods

Trans Law Update – Shannon Minter, NCLR

Shannon Minter is the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In this session, Shannon Minter will talk about their work in advocacy for LGBTQ people, with specific attention focusing on the work to protect the rights of all people regardless of sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression.

Ain’t No Lie, Baby… Bi, Bi, Bi – Drake Rainbow Union

How can we as a community discuss what it means to be the largest group within the LGBTQ community? This workshop will focus on the often invisible majority of the LGBTQ community, and how students and educators can build inclusive spaces for all students! Come ready to learn from college students about their success in building movements around creating positive change.

A Discussion of Faith and Identity: Interfaith Panel

Many faiths and denominations have become reconciling communities, meaning they have made a commitment to being in loving ministry with all people without prejudice, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, to truly have “open hearts, open minds, and open doors.” Come to this workshop to hear from three leaders of different faith communities about their efforts to welcome and include all people into their congregation.

Districtwide Pride: Improving Districtwide LGBTQ Supports – Jake Troja, Des Moines Public Schools

Des Moines Public Schools has spent several years reforming districtwide policies and practices to support LGBTQ students. From GSA supports to modifications in digital campus systems, participants will learn from district leadership about the steps they have taken to ensure all students feel welcome!

Creating Inclusive Opportunities for Workforce Readiness – Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development

Iowa is making great strides in creating a skilled workforce for the future, with specific attention in creating a bigger umbrella to included students from underrepresented populations. In this session, the Director of Iowa Workforce Development will lead a discussion on the programming that the agency provides while also facilitating a conversation on the ways we can engage LGBTQ students.

Conversion Therapy Is Child Abuse – Sam Brinton, The Trevor Project

As a personal survivor of conversion therapy, Sam currently serves as the Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project and is  the founder of the 50 Bill 50 States campaign at The Trevor Project to end the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. In this session, they will be present to discuss the progress being made to ban conversion therapy across the nation and the ways students can help advocate for this necessary work!

One Man Guy – Michael Barakiva, Author

In this session, theater director and writer Michael Barakiva will talk about his experiences writing One Man Guy, which was ranked the #1 Gay Young Adult novel on Goodreads in 2014, named to the Rainbow List and Family Equality Council’s Book Nook and released in Brazil by LeYa. Participants will be able to ask questions and get answers from this world-renowned author!

A Community Based Approach to Gun Violence Prevention: Overcoming Trauma and Engaging Students, Mothers and Others – Traci Kennedy, Moms Demand Action
The every day reality of gun violence in our communities is costing Iowan lives and leaving a traumatic path in its wake.  Volunteer leadership with Moms Demand Action will be sharing recent data on the reality and impact of active shooter trainings and offer evidence based approaches like a school safety toolkit that provides a hands-on opportunity for student and educator engagement.

Let’s Talk About It: LGBTQ Mental Health – Joby Holcomb, LMHC

Ending the silence around mental health and being LGBTQ is one of the many ways students can support each other. This workshop will explore common mental health concerns of LGBTQ youth, and what resources are available. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions in a safe and supportive atmosphere and get honest answers from an expert in the field of mental health.

Supporting Your Students’ Civil Rights – Liz Johnson, Iowa Civil Rights Commission

In this session, the Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission will be present to discuss the ways in which we can advocate and support our LGBTQ students in our schools, classrooms, and communities. You will be able to ask tough questions and get great answers about student rights, bullying & discrimination, and more!

Art, Pop Culture, and YOU – Justin Favela

In this session internationally-recognized artist and podcast host Justin Favela will be present to showcase his work highlighting American pop culture and the Latinx experience. Participants in this session will be able to see some of Favela’s work and ask about their experiences merging art and advocacy!

Behind the Glam – Drag Panel 

In this session, participants will listen to the stories and experiences of being a drag performer. A panel of performers will be present for an entertaining and engaging Q & A session.

Stories of Acceptance and Love: A Parent Panel

When a student comes out as LGBTQ, their parent must also experience their own transformation. This workshop will feature Iowa parents telling their honest stories of their child’s coming out journey, and how their experiences have motivated them to fiercely support the LGBTQ community.

Pride Camp is “Not Your Typical Gay Camp”! – Kaylyn Fisher, Iowa Safe Schools

The only LGBTQ youth summer camp in the Midwest, Pride Camp is an epic, life-changing program for LGBTQ and Allied youth ages 14-18 to learn, grow, and connect with each other…and it’s a FULL WEEK! If you’re a Middle School Student, Pride Camp University is a three-day day camp version of the same event! This workshop will give participants the opportunity to ask questions and find out everything there is to know about Pride Camp and Pride Camp University, how to register and apply for scholarships, and get a sneak peek at some of the activities campers will experience!

The Responsibility of Teacher Education: Three Perspectives Toward Meaningful Change – University of Northern Iowa College of Education

This session aims to engage participants in a candid discussion with three UNI professors who will explore considerations toward prioritizing LGBTQ inclusion in teacher preparation and explore some best practices for doing so. Each professor comes from a different lens and perspective, yet together, they hope to raise awareness on their campus about the critical importance of inclusive excellence as a pillar of teacher education.

It’s Not An Identity Crisis: Normalizing the Conversation Around Gender – Jordan Mix, Iowa Safe Schools

While great strides have been made to ensure students feel safe and supported based on their sexual orientation, these accommodations often leave out students who identify across the gender spectrum, including transgender and gender non-binary students. In this session, Iowa Safe Schools will help equip parents and educators with a foundation understanding of gender identity and expression and the ways they can support gender-expansive students in their schools and classrooms.