Statewide Conference on LGBTQ+ Youth


GSAFE and Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change (JM4C) are pleased to present “Safe Schools, Safe Communities: State Conference on LGBTQ+ Youth” on Friday, March 8, 2019. This year’s conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Parker High School (3125 Mineral Point Ave, Janesville).

Online registration is now closed. Please contact GSAFE at (608) 661-4141 or if you would like to inquire about registration.

Safe Schools, Safe Communities will feature a variety of speakers and workshops facilitated by local and regional experts. Conference participants will gain critical skills, tools, knowledge, and connections to help lead and support efforts to create more inclusive environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, nonbinary, queer, and questioning youth across Wisconsin.

Our target audience includes adults who work with youth and their families as well as youth delegates from middle school and high school-age groups or clubs in schools or in the community. School and community-based youth groups and clubs are invited to designate and register up to two youth delegates to attend SSSC19. 

We have a limited number of full and partial scholarships available to individuals wishing to attend SSSC19. If you are in need of a scholarship, would prefer to register offline, need to be invoiced, or have additional questions please contact Brian J. at (608) 661-4141 or email 

Submitting a Workshop Proposal

We are now accepting workshop proposals for Safe Schools, Safe Communities 2019 from individuals, groups, and organizations. Please complete our request for proposal form here.




Featured Speakers



Conference Location, Directions & Parking






8:00AM Registration Opens
8:30AM Welcome
8:45AM The Landscape for LGBTQ+ Youth in Wisconsin
9:45AM Breakout Sessions
10:45AM Breakout Sessions
11:45AM Keynotes: Ashton Whitaker and Joe Wardenski
12:30PM Lunch (on campus)
1:00PM Keynote: Jodie Patterson
1:45PM Break – Book Signing and Vendors
2:15PM Breakout Sessions
3:15PM Door Prizes, Call to Action, Closing



Featured Speakers

Jodie Patterson Photo By Omi Tanaka

Jodie Patterson is a mother of five and an active LGBTQI advocate who has been recognized for her activism by Hillary Clinton, GLAAD, Family Circle magazine, Cosmopolitan magazine, Essence magazine, Yahoo, Refinery29, and numerous other websites. She is a regular participant at transgender and LGBTQI conferences, including the Time To Thrive, Trans Health, Gender East, and Transcending Boundaries conferences. A mini documentary based on her family, Mama I’m Not A Girl, has reached over 10 million views to date. Jodie sits on several boards including The Human Rights Campaign, the Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project where she focuses on family acceptance of transgender children, Harbor Camps – a sleep away camp for transgender youth, and Community of Unity, a not-for-profit that provides Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs for underserved kids in NYC public. 

In 2017 the United Nations named Jodie a Champion of Change for her outstanding work towards LGBTQAI awareness and for making a difference in the lives of women and girls globally.

In 2019 Random House published Jodie’s first book. The Bold World, a memoir, explores identity, gender race and authenticity to tell the story of Jodie’s family’s history. It’s an intimate portrait of transformation and the first book to make clear the seamless continuation with in civil rights from race to gender.

Jodie is also a former state-champion gymnast and circus acrobat who performed with the Big Apple Circus. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she raises her children with love, education, and family solidarity.


Ashton Whitaker Photo by Spencer Micka

Joe Wardenski

Ashton Whitaker is a Sophomore attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Ashton was was the successful plaintiff on Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, a case which set a national precedent around how schools support and include transgender students. He is majoring in Environmental Science with a certificate in Global Health. He is currently the Vice President of his Fraternity’s chapter, and enjoys giving back to his community. 









Joe Wardenski is an attorney at Relman, Dane & Colfax, a national civil rights law firm based in Washington, DC. Joe was the lead attorney on Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, in which he secured a landmark 2017 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit holding that transgender students are protected from discrimination at school under Title IX and the U.S. Constitution. Joe previously served as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration, where he co-chaired the Division’s LGBTI Working Group and helped spearhead the Division’s enforcement efforts on behalf of LGBTQ students. Joe received his JD from Northwestern, Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and undergraduate degree from Princeton.












Confirmed workshop topics include: 

  • Deconstructing the Gender Binary in the Classroom and Community Groups
  • Consent Culture
  • Rethinking School Discipline
  • Bringing a racial justice focus to GSAs and student clubs
  • Responding to Hate: The Mount Horeb Story
  • Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Faith Communities
  • In-School Supports Beyond the GSA
  • Preparing LGBTQ+ Youth for the Transition to College
  • Addressing LGBTQ+ Topics at the Elementary Level
  • Violence and the LGBTQ+ Community
  • Creating Community Supports
  • Supporting the Mental and Physical Health of LGBTQ+
  • Increasing Cultural Competency around Working with Transgender and Nonbinary Youth
  • And More!

And more!



Online registration is open!  Please contact the GSAFE office at (608) 661-4141 or with questions. 


Conference Location, Directions, & Parking 

Janesville Parker High School is the location for Safe Schools, Safe Communities 2019

Address: 3125 Mineral Point Ave, Janesville, WI

Please park in the large parking lot on the west side of the school building.





Please let us know how we can make Safe Schools, Safe Communities accessible to you! Request for sign or other language interpreters, real time captioning, Braille or electronic documents should be directed to Brian J. at or (608) 661-4141. We will attempt to fulfill requests made two weeks before the conference but cannot guarantee they will be met.

In an effort to make the conference accessible to people of all genders, there will be all gender bathrooms at the conference.  Regardless of what bathroom you choose to use, please respect everyone’s right to use the bathroom.  Each of us can decide for ourselves which bathroom we belong in.




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“​Chippewa Falls Middle School’s mission is to provide a safe and supportive place for all of our students to learn and grow together. The Safe Space training from GSAFE provided staff with valuable resources to become more aware of how to be a better gender inclusive school!​” – Susan Kern, Middle School Principal