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.
LGBTQ youth are six times more likely to feel seriously depressed than their non-LGBTQ peers, and in 2017, LGBTQ students attempted suicide eight times more than their non-LGBTQ peers.
Schools with GSAs create safer and more supportive learning environments for all students through peer-to-peer education and advocacy. A 2017 national survey found that LGBTQ students who attended a school with a GSA:
The Iowa GSA Network is a program of Iowa Safe Schools, designed to empower students on their mission to create safe spaces through their GSAs. It is designed to provide resources and assistance to LGBTQ and allied students as well as the educators and advisors who support them. The Network assists students interested in starting a GSA at their school, and connects GSAs around the state. The GSA Network’s ultimate goal of enriching the lives of LGBTQ youth is accomplished through partnerships with student leaders, collaboration with GSA advisors and community members, as well as organizations and companies throughout the state. The Network offers resources, support, and direct interactives services to GSAs, students, and their advisors. GSAs who join the GSA Network are provided an e-toolkit of materials and ideas to help the group:
The GSA Network also helps groups connect with each other! Iowa Safe Schools believes that students should collaborate with and support each other, and we help provide spaces and opportunities for GSAs to do just that. The Network unites LGBTQ and allied youth in several events throughout the year as well as regular small group opportunities for student to engage with Iowa Safe Schools.
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If this is an emergency, dial 911 or the Suicide & Crisis Hotline at 988.
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