Iowa Pride Conference celebrates culture, diversity

Greg Zwiers

The Iowa Pride Conference celebrates the culture and diversity of the LGBT community. The conference provides a safe place for learning and creating change for LGBT students all across Iowa. 

The Iowa Pride Conference has grown larger every year. The conference will take place March 9 and marks the tenth annual conference. 

“The conference is also the largest gathering of LGBTQA youth in Iowa,” said Dane Buchholz, senior in architecture. 

One of the goals outlined on the Iowa Pride Conference page at is to provide a safe forum to discuss ideas and issues LGBT students face today.

“It provides an educational setting to learn about the past and how to make the future better,” Buchholz said. 

There will be 14 workshops after the keynote address. 

This year marks the third year in a row that the Iowa Pride Conference will be held at Iowa State. The conference is in the Memorial Union from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

“There is always a broad range of workshop options to attend, ranging from sessions about bullying to equal rights to student involvement,” Buchholz said. 

This year’s conference will feature a workshop on LGBT history, “Why Marriage Matters” and HIV prevention as well.

Buchholz said the workshops are designed to create a wider awareness in those who attend.

“[The workshops] hope to create an inclusive discussion” of the issues that everyone faces, Buchholz said. 

There is a resource fair at the end of the conference for students to find resources they may not know about if they do not attend the conference, Buchholz said.

“This helps enable attendees to create a stronger sense of community with others that may not have occurred had they not come to the conference,” Buchholz said. 

The conference aims to collaborate across the range of experiences and identities, according to the Iowa Pride Network website. 

Brad Freihoefer said the Iowa Pride Conference provides “networking and resource sharing with area organizations and vendors” to participants. 

Last year, the conference ended by bringing everyone back into one group for a “wrap up” and a performance by local artist Leslie and the Ly’s, said Buchholz. 

There is not an itinerary posted for this year’s conference, but Buchholz said the structure is the same each year; it is just the content of the sessions that changes.

“The format of each workshop is fully dependent on the facilitator’s topic and how they believe information would be best provided,” Buchholz said. 

Buchholz explained workshops may be conducted as a presentation, discussion or a panel of people who have experience with the topic.

The mission listed on the Iowa Pride Network website for the Iowa Pride Conference is to enable students to build successful student organizations and healthy, productive lives.