Tuesday, March 30, 2010

UNI Officials Investigating Pride Week Chalk Controversy

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Members of UNI Proud wanted to inform students about upcoming Pride Week events the same way many other groups on campus do: by writing messages on the sidewalk in chalk.  They were shocked when they stepped on the University of Northern Iowa campus Monday morning, and saw their informational, and colorful, notes had been erased. So they replaced them with a new message.

To read the full story click HERE

Iowa Pride Network offers resources and support to any LGBTQA student or student organization that needs it. For more information about how you can start an LGBT group on your campus or how you may obtain resources to support your group, please visit us HERE or contact IPN's Outreach Coordinator at  515-471-8063 -- Rachel@iowapridenetwork.org

If you are looking to network with other college LGBTQA students and their organizations, you should attend our 7th Annual GSA Conference for high school and college youth.  For more information and to register for the event please visit us HERE

Monday, March 29, 2010

Iowa Pride Network Internships Available!

Don't miss this exciting opportunity to help create change in Iowa!  

Iowa Pride Network (IPN) welcomes undergraduate and graduate college and university level interns who have an interest in the mission of our organization.  Interns will assist with the daily work and implementation of IPN programs.  We'll work with students who wish to secure credit for their internship experience as well. 

Get more info and apply HERE

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Video: IPN Weekly Update 3-22-10

Catch Ryan and Rachel chatting at work about the most exciting LGBTQA events & opportunities that are coming up this April!! 

LGBT Students More Likely to Be Cyber-Bullied

Recently, Iowa State University professor Warren Blumenfeld, lead the first-ever national study on cyber-bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth.

The study found that the majority of harassment goes unreported, causes widespread depression and anxiety about attending school.

 The 2009 Iowa School Climate Survey found similar findings:

LGBT students continue to be targeted for cyber-bulling at higher rates than their straight peers. LGBT students were:

2.03 times as likely to have been cyber-bullied sometime in the last year

Cyber-bullying increases thoughts of suicide. LGBT students were:

59% more likely to report having considered suicide if cyber-bullied because of their sexual orientation

Cyber-bullying affects gay and straight students alike, lowers attendance and increases absenteeism. Specifically, LGBT and straight respondents who had been cyber-bullied were:

3.88 times as likely to have skipped class, and;
3.03 times as likely to stay home from school

To read the full 2009 Iowa School Climate Survey go HERE.

If you are being harassed or cyber-bullied, please check out our Make it Real manual HERE.  It helps you understand your rights and how to report harassment.  You don't have to put up with cyber-bullying--you have rights--use them!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gay Rights Advocates Protest At University

HUNTSVILLE, AL - Gay rights protesters on a bus tour made a stop at Oakwood University Monday. They're called Soulforce, and they're visiting Christian and conservative universities to protest their policies.

Soulforce members say Oakwood University's policies discriminate against gay and transgendered people.

To read the full story click HERE

Iowa Pride Network supports Soulforce and their efforts to make college campuses more inclusive and a safer place for LGBT students to learn. If you need more information about how to make your campus more LGBT accepting please visit: http://www.iowapridenetwork.org
Or Contact Iowa Pride Network Directly: 515-471-8062

Lt. Choi Arrested at White House Gates for Protesting DADT

You might remember that Lt. Dan Choi keynoted the Annual Governor's Conference on LGBT Youth here in Iowa in February.  Well, this just in:

 "In an act of civil disobedience, Lt. Dan Choi and Jim Pietrangelo have been arrested at the White House gates on Thursday while protesting the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Following a Human Rights Campaign rally for DADT repeal in Washington earlier today, Choi and Pietrangelo led about 100 protesters to the White House, where the two then proceeded to handcuff themselves to the gates."

Sometimes, civil disobedience, is a way to get your point across.   We support Lt. Choi and his courage to keep fighting for equality!  Read the full article HERE.

Photo By Kerry Eleveld

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nat'l Study: College Freshmen Support Gay Marriage More Than General Public

College students who describe themselves as politically "far right" arrive on campuses across the country supporting legal same-sex marriage significantly more than do conservative Republicans nationwide, according to new data released by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Twenty-four percent of the most conservative college students say that same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status, according to the institute's most recent survey of freshmen, conducted last summer and fall. In the nation at large, 14 percent of conservative Republicans support gay marriage, according to a survey conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Prom Season: What LGBTQ Youth Need to Know

You might have heard what happened to Constance McMillen in Itawamba County, a school district in Mississippi.  The school shut down their prom because she wanted to bring her girlfriend and dress in a Tuxedo.  Know your legal rights during prom season!  Check out Lambda Legal's online resource.  

Prom season is fast approaching.  If you experience anything like Constance, please notify Iowa Pride Network or the ACLU of Iowa immediately! 

Iowa Pride Network: 515-471-8062 
ACLU of Iowa: 515-243-3576

Itawamba County, Miss., high school prom off after lesbian's date request

By Shelia Byrd, Associated Press Writer • March 10, 2010

JACKSON, MISS. — A northern Mississippi school district decided Wednesday not to host a high school prom after a lesbian student demanded she be able to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.

The Itawamba County school district’s policy requires that senior prom dates be of the opposite sex. The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi had given the district until Wednesday to change that policy and allow 18-year-old Constance McMillen to escort her girlfriend, who is also a student, to the dance on April 2.

Instead, the school board met and issued a statement announcing it wouldn’t host the event at Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Fulton, “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.”

The statement didn’t mention McMillen or the ACLU. When asked by The Associated Press if McMillen’s demand led to the cancellation, school board attorney Michele Floyd said she could only reference the statement.

“It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors,” district officials said in the statement. “However, at this time, we feel that it is in the best interest of the Itawamba County School District, after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students.”

The ACLU said a school policy banning same-sex prom dates violated McMillen’s constitutional rights. Read the full story HERE

Prom season is fast approaching.  If you experience anything like Constance, please notify Iowa Pride Network or the ACLU of Iowa immediately!

Iowa Pride Network: 515-471-8062
ACLU of Iowa: 515-243-3576 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Virginia Students Mobilize Against Anti-Gay Attorney General

Virginia college students began to mobilize Monday in response to a legal opinion from the state's attorney general saying Virginia's public colleges have no authority to ban discrimination against gay employees.

The letter from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, dated Thursday, was made public Friday, just as many state university students were leaving for Spring Break. The geographical hurdle has pushed much of the dissent online.

Read the full article HERE. Go HERE to keep up-to-date on what Queer & Allied Activism at the University of Virginia is doing! Great Job Queer & Allied Activism--Your friends in Iowa support you!

UPDATE: From AP Reporter Larry O'Dell on 3-10-10

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has directed state agencies not to discriminate against gay people, essentially overriding the state attorney general's advice to colleges.

McDonnell's directive Wednesday came amid a public uproar over Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli's letter last week telling public colleges they lack the authority to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Cuccinelli told colleges to rescind or change any anti-discrimination policies that include protection for gay people.

The Republican attorney general's letter was denounced by gay-rights groups and Democrats. In the letter, Cuccinelli said colleges can't include gays in their anti-discrimination policies without General Assembly authorization.

Monday, March 8, 2010

IPN Weekly Video Update for 3-8-10

Ryan and Rachel recap the Student Day at the Capitol and discuss the up-coming 7th Annual Gay-Straight Alliance Conference happening April 17th and the Award for Best High School and College GSA!!   

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Students to Take Part in Annual Day @ Capitol

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and Straight Allied Students Will Take Part in Iowa Pride Network’s 5th Annual Day at the Capitol

Des Moines, IA – March 3 – Dozens of LGBT and straight allied students will meet with Lt. Governor Patty Judge and supportive legislators during Iowa Pride Network’s Fifth Annual Student Day at Capitol.  The day is meant to encourage students to be civically engaged and politically aware.

The event comes at an important time.  In early February, House Representatives Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig and Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, co-sponsored legislation which sought to exclude LGBT students from the 2007 Safe Schools Law.  The legislation died in the House Education Committee. 

“While that piece of anti-gay legislation is dead, we hope that our time at the Capitol will serve as a reminder that every student has a right to a safe school and that all students deserve to be treated with respect—not just from their peers, but from their legislators at the statehouse,” stated Emily Frerichs, a senior at the University of Iowa and Iowa Pride Network Board Member. 

“We also want to thank legislators who have stood by us and show we appreciate them,” said Sara Puffer, a senior at Cedar Rapids Linn-Mar High School and also a board member for Iowa Pride Network.  Puffer described how personalized thank-you cards will be given out and a legislative reception will be held in the afternoon.  

The Day at the Capitol brings students from numerous Iowa cities, colleges and high schools:

21 Cities: Altoona, Ames, Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Cumming, Des Moines, Forest City, Grinnell, Iowa City, Marion, Omaha, NE, Pella, Pleasant Hill,  Red Oak, Runnells, Lamoni, Sioux City, Urbandale, Waterloo, and Waverly

9 Colleges: Central College, Drake University, Grinnell College, Iowa State University, Mercy College of Health Sciences, Morningside College, University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, Waldorf College

15 High Schools: Burlington High School, Cedar Falls High School, Central Academy, East High School (Des Moines), Hinton High School (Sioux City), Hoover High School (Des Moines), Cedar Rapids Linn-Mar High School, Millard South High School (Omaha, NE), North High School (Sioux City), Red Oak High School, Southeast Polk High School, Walnut Creek High School, Waverly-Shell Rock High School, Iowa City West High School, Sioux City West High School


About 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.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Video: Weekly Update 3-1-10

Ryan and Rachel visit the state capitol to give one last shout out about Iowa Pride Network's 5th Annual Student Day at the Capitol happening March 3, 2010! There are dozens of students registered--don't miss out--join us!!