Wednesday, January 27, 2010


To Honor and Celebrate Student Groups 
that Work to End Violence and Harassment in Schools and Colleges

Des Moines, IA – January 27 – Governor Culver has declared today “Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Day”.  The day, organized by Iowa Pride Network, is meant to honor GSA groups, students and staff who work to end violence and homophobia in Iowa schools and colleges.

"It is a known fact that Gay Straight Alliances make our schools safer and more accepting," said Lt. Governor Judge. "The Culver/Judge Administration and Iowa's outstanding Gay Straight Alliances share a common vision - ensuring that every Iowa student has a safe nurturing environment in which to learn, and we look forward to working with GSAs and all Iowans to turn this goal into a reality."

According to recent Iowa School Climate Surveys, nearly 38% of gay and lesbian students are physically harassed and 21% are physically assaulted in Iowa schools because of their sexual orientation.  However, students with a GSA in their school are 23% less likely to be assaulted. “Having a GSA is a simple, cost-effective way to create safe schools,” stated Rachel Johnson, Iowa Pride Network Outreach Coordinator.  “That is why having a day that raises awareness of GSAs and the positive impact they have on schools and colleges is so important.”

Hundreds of students from dozens of secondary schools and colleges are expected to take part in activities to address the serious problems of anti-gay bullying and harassment, while advocating for solutions - like GSAs and implementation of Iowa’s Safe School and amended Civil Rights laws.

Stephen Wayne Boatwright, a senior at Hoover High School and Iowa Pride Network board member, helped create a GSA at his high school.  “After we started the GSA at Hoover, more students are thinking twice before using anti-gay slurs.  There are students out there who get picked on for being gay or being perceived to be.  This day let’s them know that they aren’t alone and that they’re supported.”

The event, now in its fourth year, continues to gain momentum.  Four years ago Iowa had approximately 50 GSAs, today over 120 exist.  Iowa is the only state in the nation with such a day.   “We’re proud of the impact our GSAs have made across the state and appreciate the state of Iowa recognizing our work,” stated Boatwright. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

West Liberty High School Forms GSA

Check out this great article on the new gay-straight alliance forming at West Liberty High School! Check out the article HERE!  Great Job! 

Gov. Culver to Proclaim Jan 27 Iowa GSA Day

Day to Celebrate Student Groups that Work to End Violence
and Harassment in Schools and Colleges

Governor Chet Culver will proclaim Wednesday January 27 “Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Day”.  The day, organized by Iowa Pride Network seeks to honor student GSA groups in high schools and colleges that work to end violence and harassment of students including those that are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). 

The night before, Media is invited to cover Iowa Pride Network’s “GSA Day Kick-Off Party” at Ritual Café  in downtown Des Moines.  Special Guest Lt. Governor Patty Judge will read the official Iowa GSA Day Proclamation signed by Governor Culver.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
GSA Day Kick-Off Party, 5-7 p.m.
Ritual Café, 1301 Locust Street, Des Moines

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Iowa GSA Day
On College and High School Campuses Statewide

GSAs decrease absenteeism, name-calling, harassment and assault. According to the 2007 Iowa School Climate Survey, in schools WITH GSAs:
· 25% of LGBT students are less likely to be verbally harassed because of their gender
· 23% of LGBT students are less likely to skip class
· 23% of LGBT students are less likely to be physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation
· 21% of LGBT students are more likely to report never having been sexually harassed at school
· 12% of LGBT students are less likely to be physically harassed or assaulted because of their gender expression

This is the fourth year of Iowa GSA Day. 
Iowa is the only state in the nation with such a day.

Iowa Pride Network
Iowa Pride Network empowers students to fight homophobia and transphobia in high schools and colleges by supporting gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs and providing leadership opportunities and organizing projects centered on social justice. For more information call Iowa Pride Network at 515-471-8062 or by visiting Iowa Pride Network

Friday, January 15, 2010



What is Iowa GSA Day?
Now in its fourth year, the goals of Iowa GSA Day are to:

• Honor GSAs around that state that work to end violence, homophobia and transphobia in Iowa schools and colleges;

• Honor students, teachers and community members that have shown dedication for keeping all students safe, and insuring a quality education for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity; and,

• Raise awareness of the need for GSAs in schools and colleges and how they are a proven, effective tool in combating hostile and unsafe learning environments for all students.

When is Iowa GSA Day and where is it held?
Iowa GSA Day will be held on Wednesday, January 27, 2010. Iowa GSA Day events will happen on high school and college campuses throughout the state.

I don’t have a GSA. Can I/my school/college still participate?
Yes! Any student, school or college can participate—even if you don’t have a GSA. We do ask that all students, schools and colleges register on our website (see info below). If you don’t yet have a GSA, participating in Iowa GSA Day is a great way to inform your administration about the need for a GSA and the benefits they bring to all students! Please call 515-471-8063 for more info on individual ways to be involved!

What is a GSA and how many are there in Iowa?
A Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is a student-run club, which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, and talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and work to end homophobia and transphobia. Many GSA's function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ). The student group also serves as a voice for LGBTQ students and works to help the school become more inclusive and safe. Most GSAs in Iowa are made up of both straight identified students and LGBTQ students. Currently, there are approximately 100 active GSAs in Iowa’s high schools and colleges.

Do GSAs really work to end homophobia and violence?
Yes. GSAs decrease absenteeism, name-calling, harassment and assault. According to the 2007 Iowa School Climate Survey, LGBT students in schools WITH GSAs:

• 25% are less likely to be verbally harassed because of their gender
• 23% of LGBT students are less likely to skip class
• 23% are less likely to be physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation
• 21% are more likely to report never having been sexually harassed at school
• 12% are less likely to be physically harassed because of their gender expression
• 12% are less likely to be physically assaulted because of their gender expression
• 10% are less likely to be verbally harassed because of their gender expression
• 10% are less likely to be physically harassed because of their sexual orientation
• 10% more likely to report never being cyber-bullied because of their gender8% more likely to report being rarely cyber-bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender expression

How do we participate in Iowa GSA Day?
To participate, register your GSA with Iowa Pride Network at (Registration Forms for the day will be on our website shortly!) Simply click the “Iowa GSA Day” button and fill out the form and describe what your GSA is planning to do and why your GSA is important to you. Once you do this, your GSA is automatically entered to win DVDs, Books and other materials! Each GSA across the state can design activities to fit their school or college based on our three main areas of focus:


Make sure that people know your GSA exists and why:

• Make t-shirts.
• Make fliers and hand them out at lunch.
• Have a panel discussion or lead a staff training to discuss your GSA.
• Hold a GSA meeting where you bring your friends

—just be visible and let people know why you love and appreciate your GSA and how they can be involved!

Do you have a fantastic GSA advisor? Do you have supportive teachers, administrators or community members?—Let them know by:

• Giving them a card or thank-you note.
• Show appreciation for your group by discussing your group’s history.
• Take the time to research your GSA’s history, or if you started it, write down your history and pass it on to new GSA leaders.

Understanding and appreciating where you’ve been will help the group feel confident in creating change for the future!

Sit down with your GSA and plan for the future. Ask GSA members:

• What are your goals for the GSA?
• What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to increase attendance, improve programming, or make your school safer?
• Do you know who next year’s leaders will be?

Answering these questions will ensure that your group is getting organized. Make sure you plan to attend Iowa Pride Network events and join a regional coalition. Look around. Are there other schools in your area that should have a GSA? If so, network with those schools and colleges and serve as a mentor to them. Make sure to inform Iowa Pride Network about the new GSAs—so that way, next year’s Iowa GSA Day can have an even bigger impact!

Feel free to use the following logo 
tiles to promote Iowa GSA Day!!

Notre Dame Newspaper Runs Deplorable Anti-Gay Cartoon

On Wednesday, 13 January, The Observer, the student newspaper at Notre Dame University ran an incredibly troubling cartoon that promotes violence against the LGBT community.

The cartoon depicted a conversation between two figures.  The conversation read, “What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?”

“No idea.”

“A baseball bat.”

As many people know, “fruit” is often used as a derogatory term for members of the LGBT community.

This type of advocacy of anti-LGBT violence must stop.  It isn’t funny.  What’s more, it promotes hate crimes, which are all too prevalent in society today. Read the entire article from GLAAD's Blog HERE.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spectrum GSA Creates Safe Space for Students

The Ames Tribune featured Ames High School's Gay-Straight Alliance, Spectrum, in it's coverage! Great job Spectrum GSA, we're so proud of you!!! Check out the article by clicking HERE.

Photo By Ronnie Miller/The Tribune
Ames High School Spectrum co-president, Alex Canfield, in white suit, talks with members of the group while co-president, Marian Thompson writes notes on the board Wednesday during their weekly meetings at the school. Spectrum is AHS’s gay and straight alliance group.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Queer Youth Summit to be held Saturday

On Saturday, January 9, 2010, the Iowa Pride Network will be hosting its 3rd Annual Queer Youth Summit for high school and college students throughout the state. The training will be held in Des Moines at Drake University, Meredith Hall from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Check-in will begin at 9:00 AM, and the conference will start promptly at 10:00 AM.  Lunch will be provided. This is a FREE event!

The mission of the Queer Youth Summit is to provide a safe forum for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied (LGBTA) students to discuss emerging issues in the LGBTA social justice movement and understand how their voices and action can create a more welcoming and affirming society. The Summit also aims to provide necessary tools and resources to students to ensure that their Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) and student organizations are serving as catalysts for change.

Registration/Check-in......................9:00- 9:45
Welcome & Opening Speakers............9:45 – 10:05
5 Min. Break ................................10:05 – 10:10
Session 1....................................10:10 – 11:10
Lunch........................................11:10 – 12:00
Session 2....................................12:00 – 1:00
10 Min. Break...............................1:00 – 1:10
Session 3....................................1:10 – 2:10
High School & College Caucus............2:10 – 2:40
5 min. Break................................2:40 - 2:45
Session 4....................................2:45 – 3:45
Closing Session & Remarks................3:45 – 4:00

Will be near Meredith Hall in the Olmsted parking lot, located on University Ave. between 28th & 29th Streets

(It's building Number 43 on the map)

If you’re planning on attending the Queer Youth Summit you must have your Medical Release/Emergency Information and Hold Harmless Agreement filled out and handed in at registration, (Saturday morning) or you will not be admitted into the summit.

If you are under 18-years-old we will also need a signed participant permission form, signed by a parent or guardian. (We will also need a copy of your Medical Release/Emergency Information and Hold Harmless Agreement, which was just mentioned above).

You can print both of these forms off from our website at:  

Further details regarding the training will be updated to the website. Check back often. More questions or need more info? Call the Iowa Pride Network office at 515-243-1110 or email Rachel: