Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Iowa Celebrates GSA Day!

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

Des Moines, IA – January 26 – Today is “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.

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 Joshua Merritt, 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.

Sarah Mowitz, a senior at Roosevelt High School and Iowa Pride Network board member, is part of a GSA at her high school.  “The point of the GSA is to make students think twice before using anti-gay slurs or other forms of harassment.  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 fifth year, continues to gain momentum.  Four years ago Iowa had approximately 50 GSAs, today more than 100 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 efforts of students and staff who work tirelessly to create safe schools,” stated Mowitz. 


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 visit:

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