Meet our Intersex Human Rights Fund grantee partners

This year, Astraea awarded $275,000 in grants to 41 grantee partners across 33 countries, including two regional networks in Europe and Asia. 

Today, on Intersex Awareness Day, it is with great excitement that we share our fourth cycle of the Intersex Human Rights Fund grantee partners.

This year, Astraea awarded $275,000 in grants to 41 grantee partners across 33 countries, including two regional networks in Europe and Asia. 65% of these grants are to existing partners, affirming our commitment to providing long-term support and promoting sustainability. While the intersex movement is growing across all regions, in this cycle, 35% of the grants are to new groups from intersex-led organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

These are some of the fiercest intersex activists and advocates who are addressing human rights violations and stigma faced by intersex people, and collaborating with other intersex organizations, human rights organizations, educational and healthcare institutions, and allies.

This past year, intersex rights activists held regional meetings across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. The regional meetings—several of which were supported by the Intersex Human Rights Fund—were the first intersex spaces that many activists in the Global South had experienced. Activists emphasized the criticality of movement-building and the need for increased visibility for the intersex community as a whole.

2018 is Astraea’s largest-ever pool of Intersex Human Rights Fund grantee partners, signaling a major growth in the global intersex movement and advocacy efforts. However, the lack of funding for intersex rights continues to be a major barrier in realizing those rights and shifts in norms.

Our grantee partners have been instrumental in:

  • Organizing to end the pathologization and medicalization of intersex bodies by providing accurate and positive representations of the intersex community: Collectif Intersexes et Allié-e-s was formed on Intersex Awareness Day in 2016 as a collective that provides peer support but also to act politically and be a representative voice for intersex rights in France. The group takes a firm stand against pathologization of intersex people, working to end mutilations and non-consensual treatments, removing gender in legal documents, and including intersex variations in educational resources across the country.
  • Raising awareness about intersex human rights violations by establishing regional networks to end discrimination and protect the rights of intersex people: Intersex Asia was born out of the Asia regional meeting in 2018, to affirm intersex peoples’ rights to bodily integrity, physical autonomy, and self-determination. The network was created by 14 activists across 10 countries in Asia and reflects the growth of the movement in the region.
  • Serving as catalysts for information dissemination, awareness raising, and advocating for the rights of intersex people: Intersex South Africa (ISSA) was revived in 2017 after a South African meeting of intersex activists highlighted major gaps concerning intersex issues in the country. ISSA’s works to ensure that intersex people have the right to accurate information and access to medical records concerning their bodily autonomy, as well as providing support to and awareness around the intersex community in South Africa.

Please join us in celebrating the work of these powerful grantee partners and read more about their work and the work of this global movement, in the links below*:

AIS Suport Group Australia Inc. // Associação Brasileira de Intersexos // Association of Russian-Speaking Intersex (ARSI) // Bilitis Resource Center// Brújula Intersexual // Campaign for Change // Collectif Intesexes et Allié-es// Comité Visibilité Intersexe // Egalite Intersex Ukraine // Fundación Reflejos de Venezuela // The Houston Intersex Society // Intersex And Faith // Intersex Archive Project // Intersex Asia // Intersex Danmark // Intersex Human Rights Australia // Intersex Ísland // Intersex South Africa // InterAction // IntersexUK // ITANZ // Ivy Foundation // Mulabi // NNID // Oii Chinese // OII Deutschland/IVIM // OII Italia // OII Sverige // Organization Intersex International Europe (OII-Europe) // Rainbow Identity Association // Srishti Madurai LGBTQI+// SIPD Uganda // Trans Bantu Association Zambia // Trans Smart Trust // TZK’AT, Red de Sanadoras Ancestrales del Feminismo Comunitario // Verein Intergeschlechtlicher Österreich (VIMÖ/OII Austria) // Vivir y Ser Intersex // XY Spectrum

*We do not publicize some of our courageous grantee partners because of the security threats they face in their local contexts, so groups may be missing from this list.

P.S. By supporting Astraea you are creating ecosystems of resistance that are smart, effective, and unique. We are answering the call of this moment. We will win. And we will do so because of your support.

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Watch a video about our Intersex Fund grantee partners’ recent work:

Magda Rakita

Magda Rakita is a Polish intersex activist who lives in the UK. She became involved in intersex activism in the UK after publicly coming out a couple of years ago.

Magda Rakita is a Polish intersex activist who lives in the UK. She became involved in intersex activism in the UK after publicly coming out a couple of years ago. She gave numerous talks to the general public, medical students, took part in the production of videos and other materials with aim of raising awareness about intersex people. In 2018, together with her colleagues Anick Soni and Sara Gillingham, she organised the first ever intersex group in London’s Pride. Magda worked with IHRF grantee partner IntersexUK until recently. She’s been focusing on intersex activism in Poland since 2018, and working in collaboration with KPH (Kampania Przeciwko Homofobii/Campaign Against Homophobia). Magda’s mission is to facilitate change to the lives of intersex people in Poland by pursuing work in multiple avenues of raising public awareness, educating medical professionals and future doctors about intersex people’s perspective on appropriate care, create safe space for intersex persons and their families living in Poland through support groups meetings as well as empowering new intersex advocacy voices.

Intersex Community of Zimbabwe (ICoZ)

Intersex Community of Zimbabwe (ICoZ) was formed in October 2018 after realizing that there is a high level of ignorance, stigma and discrimination towards the intersex community within Zimbabwean society.

Intersex Community of Zimbabwe (ICoZ) was formed in October 2018 after realizing that there is a high level of ignorance, stigma and discrimination towards the intersex community within Zimbabwean society which lead to serious cases of violations of human rights of intersex people, that includes; among others, sexual abuses, killings of intersex babies and adults due to ignorance and misconceptions that surround intersex peoples’ lives. ICoZ has also seen several cases of non-consented medical interventions by the medical profession, in the name of normalizing intersex bodies, which are unnecessary and harmful since these interventions have lifelong physical problems on the lives of intersex people. ICoZ was formed in order to address the challenges that intersex people are facing in their day to day lives and to raise an awareness on the reality of the existence of intersex people especially in their communities, where intersex people come from and are raised from, since there is a high level of invisibility of the intersex community. ICoZ also advocates for equality in order to see inclusion of intersex people in all aspects of life including health and educational programming and respect of all human rights. Their mission is to advocate for equality and inclusion, especially in areas of education and health programming, and to address issues of violations of human rights which affects intersex people on a daily basis.

Intersex Justice Project (IJP)

The Intersex Justice Project (IJP) seeks the end of medically invasive and unnecessary surgeries in the United States that target intersex children and adolescents by empowering intersex people of color to advance that change.

The Intersex Justice Project (IJP) was formed in 2017. IJP was formed in response to a visible lack of intersex people of color in leadership in the United States. IJP started by issuing statements on behalf of intersex people of color for Intersex Awareness Day in 2016. The following year, they decided to protest Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Their campaign against Lurie Children’s Hospital is the foundation of their work. People follow their campaign using the hashtag #endintersexsurgery. Their mission is: “The Intersex Justice Project (IJP) seeks the end of medically invasive and unnecessary surgeries in the United States that target intersex children and adolescents by empowering intersex people of color to advance that change. IJP is dedicated to the inalienable rights of intersex people of color in the United States, however, we are committed to forming alliances and coalitions with other intersex people of color both nationally and globally.”

Intersex Society of Zambia (ISSZ)

Intersex Society of Zambia exists to work and facilitate for the recognition and protection and promote access to social, legal, economic, spiritual, and political frameworks of intersex persons.

Intersex Society of Zambia was founded in 2018. For some time, issues affecting the intersex community have not been much addressed, and if they are, there isn’t much. Intersex issues have just been on paper and the needs of the intersex community are not really understood and most organisations dealing the LGBTIQ+ community assume that the needs of the intersex community are about sexual orientation, expression and gender identity. Intersex Society of Zambia exists to work and facilitate for the recognition and protection and promote access to social, legal, economic, spiritual, and political frameworks of intersex persons and to transform them into well informed, motivated and active individuals to live a fulfilling life, archiving their dreams and contributing to their communities in Zambia, regionally and globally.

Tzk’at Red de Sanadoras Ancestrales del Feminsmo Comunitario, Territorial desde Iximulew – Guatemala

TZK’AT, Red de Sanadoras Ancestrales del Feminismo Comunitario, is an initiative initially built in October 2015 by a lesbian Kiche Maya woman and a Q’eqchi’-xinka Mayan, and was initially composed of 11 Maya and Xinka women from various indigenous territories nationwide in Guatemala.

English: TZK’AT, Red de Sanadoras Ancestrales del Feminismo Comunitario, Territorial desde Iximulew – Guatemala, is an initiative initially built in October 2015 by a lesbian Kiche Maya woman and a Q’eqchi’-xinka Maya, and was initially composed of 11 Maya and Xinka women from various indigenous territories nationwide in Guatemala. They are women who claim their own epistemology and their bodies as pluridimensional spaces.

Español:
La Red de Sanadoras Ancestrales del Feminismo Comunitario territoriales en Guatemala, Territorial desde Iximulew – Guatemala, es una iniciativa construida inicialmente por una mujer maya Kiche lesbiana y por una maya q´eqchi´- xinka, que fue articulando a 11 mujeres mayas y xinkas de varios territorios indígenas a nivel nacional en Guatemala, y nacen como colectiva el 12 octubre del año 2015. Para diciembre 2017 son mujeres que se reivindican desde su propia epistemología, e interpretación de sus cuerpos como espacios pluridimensionales.  

Trans Smart Trust

Trans Smart Trust is an organization focused on intersex and transgender persons.

Trans Smart Trust is an organization focused on intersex and transgender persons. It was founded in 2012 and registered as a Trust on the 16th of July 2016 after a long struggle in an environment where there is limited appreciation and acknowledgement of the existence of intersex and transgender persons. Trans Smart Trust works to promote the identification, inclusion, integration and assimilation of human rights issues affecting Intersex and transgender persons within different social groups of the larger Zimbabwean community. Through Trans Smart’s strategic focus, the organization’s participatory methodologies have become the fulcrum for integrated inventiveness in developing intersex and transgender person’s livelihoods. To date the organization is continuously working on improving Health, Human rights, Life Skills, Capacities and participation in governance processes. Trans Smart Trust manages a portfolio of projects targeting intersex and Transgender persons who constitute intersex and transgender people living with HIV and albinism within urban and rural areas. The organization’s activities bridge the knowledge gaps through information dissemination and provide capacity building for rural and urban populaces, facilitate platforms for the community and its leadership to interrogate as well as take action in promoting human rights.

The Houston Intersex Society

The Houston Intersex Society aims to empower and enrich the lives of intersex people while working to end shame and discrimination through education, outreach, and support.

The Houston Intersex Society was formed on June 27, 2012. Both co-founders knew each other as teenagers in an LGBT youth group but because of shame, stigma, and secrecy neither one was open about their intersex status. They reconnected as adults at a local community center and upon learning that they both felt the same isolation while sitting next to each other every Friday night for years as teenagers, they decided to create an organization that very day. They created the organization with the intention to be visible to other intersex people, to advocate for those intersex individuals unable to advocate for themselves, to influence legislation to protect intersex bodies, and to educate medical providers so they can provide adequate care to intersex people.

The Houston Intersex Society aims to empower and enrich the lives of intersex people while working to end shame and discrimination through education, outreach, and support.

Srishti Madurai LGBTQIA+ Student Volunteer Collective (Srishti Madurai Educational Trust)

The mission of Srishti is to create a space for gender-/ sex minorities and to provide guidance and support for these people and their families.

Srishti Madurai is a space which explores the interrelations of nature, human and society via the conscious or unconscious sediments of the members who constitute Srishti Madurai in a parallel, interdisciplinary, multiple and universal approaches. Srishti Madurai was established on 2nd September 2011 by Gopi Shankar in Madurai as The first Intersex, Genderqueer & LGBTQA+ student volunteer group designed to target specifically to the problems of queer people in non-metro cities of Tamil Nadu. Apart from creating awareness, Srishti also started to educate both the community and the public about Gender Politics and issues regarding Sex, Gender & Sexuality. It is one of the inclusive groups of its kind which has involved academicians, Independent scholars, Human rights activist, Environmentalists, Animal rights activists and genderqueer activists to protect the human rights of LGBTQIA+ people. Srishti Madurai urged Indian parliament to include intersex people in a bill protecting trans rights. Gopi Shankar also launched an official complaint to National Human Rights Commission of India to ban the forced sex-selective surgeries on intersex infants, also to ensure their fundamental constitutional rights in India for which the NHRC issued directions to the Secretary Union Health Ministry Government of India to respond Srishti Madurai within 8 weeks. Image credit: Srishti Madurai Archives

OII Sverige

OII Sverige envisages a world where the diversity of the human body is both recognized and celebrated beyond our current system which only validates people with bodies and genders which conform to male or female.

Before OII Sverige was formed in February 2018, its members were part of a loosely formed network called Intersex Scandinavia. OII Sverige envisages a world where the diversity of the human body is both recognized and celebrated beyond our current system which only validates people with bodies and genders which conform to male or female. OII Sverige as an organization offers support and advocacy for people with intersex variations. OII Sverige also offers information to families, patient support groups, and concerned health professionals through presentations by group members.