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:
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:
Featuring 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.
Sweet Equality is an annual event celebrating our accomplishments as a community, but also looking forward to the work that remains to be done at the State Capitol. Whether it be banning conversion therapy, protecting trans Iowans from hate crimes, or banning the trans/gay panic defense, Iowa Safe Schools' advocacy team is hard at work every legislative session.
This delectable dessert mixer, held every winter, is the perfect time to recall our victories and to rally support for pending legislation which is critical to our students wellbeing.
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, administrators, and helping professionals 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 & Symposiums include:
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 the 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.
Pride Tailgate was created to provide a safe space for all LGBTQ youth to celebrate Pride! This is an age-appropriate, family-friendly, and alcohol-free tailgate held annually in Des Moines. Food, fun, and plenty of activities are standard for this fan favorite event - bring the whole family! Our corporate and individual partnerships are what make this free event possible!
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 over 20 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. This event is FREE to all students.
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Iowa Safe Schools