Honor author and activist Jeanne Córdova with us in LA

Astraea is thrilled to announce that we will be honoring Jeanne Córdova at our 2018 Fueling the Frontlines Awards on November 8th in Los Angeles.

“Jeanne looked ahead and saw her generation of lesbian feminist activists, many of whom had been blessed to make comfortable lives for themselves, many of whom didn’t have children of their own, and felt it was really important to get the word out to them about giving to their lesbian and queer children, about giving back to their community.” –Lynn Harris Ballen, Jeanne Cordova’s partner

Astraea is thrilled to announce that we will be honoring Jeanne Córdova at our 2018 Fueling the Frontlines Awards on November 8th, 2018 in Los Angeles. Author, activist, and Chicana-identified butch woman Jeanne Córdova devoted her life to activism on behalf of the LGBTQI community. Although best and most recently known for her award-winning memoir, When We Were Outlaws, Córdova’s activism and collective organizing spans decades–from founding the popular 1970’s lesbian feminist newspaper The Lesbian Tide to acting as President of the Stonewall Democratic Club. Córdova’s contributions to the lesbian feminist and extended LGBTQI communities are phenomenal, yet at all times it was the power of community and shared lesbian leadership that fueled her philosophy. In A Letter About Dying, to My Lesbian Communities she thanked the thousands of members of the national lesbian communities whose activism, lives, and loves touched her own–“especially those dykes who have become family and siblings of choice over the last 40 years.”

Jeanne was committed to helping sustain the movements that supported her as a young Chicana-lesbian activist. Before Córdova passed away in early 2016, she proclaimed, “It is wonderful to have had a life’s cause: freedom and dignity for lesbians,” and announced that her estate would donate $2 million to Astraea to carry out just that goal. “We need to think about giving to our gay and lesbian youth and institutions like Astraea or other lesbian organizations. They’re the ones who are nurturing our real daughters right now, around the world,” Córdova wrote in her final letter announcing the donation. In 2017, the Jeanne R. Córdova Fund supported 14 powerful grassroots organizations in South/Latin America and Southern Africa that focus on movement-building, human rights, journalism and cultural activism among lesbians, feminists, butch and masculine and gender nonconforming communities.

Jeanne created so much more than a considerable legacy with her intentional bequest — she created decades of possibility — for Astraea, for our movements, and for our people. Jeanne exemplifies the visionary philanthropy we celebrate and depend on every day. It is in this spirit that we both honor and celebrate Jeanne’s formidable life and legacy at our Fueling the Frontlines Gala on November 8th.

Celebrate Jeanne Córdova with us on November 8th!

Tickets to the gala are now available at an early bird rate! Buy yours via the button below to #FuelTheFrontlines of LGBTQI activism and celebrate Jeanne Córdova’s legacy with us:

Purchase your ticket



Questions about our Fueling the Frontlines Gala? For more information, contact Sally Troncoso at 212.810.4155 or stroncoso@astraeafoundation.org.


A New Global Acceptance Index for LGBT people

Today, the Williams Institute, as part of the LGBTI Global Development Partnership has released three new research reports detailing the average levels of acceptance for LGBT people around the world.

Today, the Williams Institute, as part of the LGBTI Global Development Partnership has released three new research reports detailing the average levels of acceptance for LGBT people around the world. The findings reveal that LGBT rights have increased globally since 1980, though acceptance has become more polarized; increasing in the most accepting countries and decreasing in the least.

The Global Acceptance Index ranked 141 countries on their relative level of social acceptance of LGBT people and rights. Findings were analyzed from 11 cross-national, global and regional surveys and reveal that 80 countries (57%) experienced increases in acceptance. Forty-six countries (33%) experienced a decline in acceptance and 15 countries (11%) were unchanged.

“The Global Acceptance Index provides a consistent and comparable way to measure attitudes and attitude change, which could better understand inclusion of LGBT people in many areas of social, economic, and political life,” said lead author Andrew R. Flores, Visiting Scholar at the Williams Institute.

Two additional studies used the Global Acceptance Index to analyze the effects of LGBT acceptance and inclusion. Examining the Relationship between Social Acceptance of LGBT People and Legal Inclusion of Sexual Minorities found that democracies with a commitment to a free press and the rule of law had the strongest relationship. However, the relationship between acceptance and legal inclusion becomes weaker in shrinking civic spaces, such as autocracies and anocracies.

A third study, Links between Economic Development and New Measures of LGBT Inclusion, affirmed previous findings that the inclusion of LGBT people is linked to a country’s economic performance.

Some key findings include

  • Legal measures appear to be stronger predictors than social acceptance.
  • Legal rights and social acceptance may be stronger predictors of GDP per capita when combined than when they are alone.
  • Countries with the most inclusive Legal Environment Index showed a statistically significant addition of $8,259 in GDP per capita.

These new measures allow for global, cross-national comparisons of public sentiment about LGBT people and their rights. “The Global Acceptance Index,” notes Kerry-Jo Ford Lyn, Director of the LGBTI Global Development Partnership, “provides a critical global benchmark for measuring and comparing progress we make in ensuring that LGBT populations are protected from violence, stigma, and discrimination wherever they are.”

Astraea is committed to supporting the LGBTQI grassroots organizations around the world who are working to reduce violence and discrimination, and bring lasting social justice to our communities.


Note: These reports were produced as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Global Development Partnership. The Partnership was founded in 2012 and brings together the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Arcus Foundation, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, the Williams Institute, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights (RFSL), and other corporate, non-profit, and non-governmental organization resource partners.

Meet our grantee partner, Annalise Ophelian!

Grantee partner Annalise Ophelian and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the subject of Ophelian’s documentary, MAJOR!, discuss the film and what it meant to receive support from Astraea.

Today, we are pleased to introduce you to filmmaker and 2015 Global Arts Fund recipient, Annalise Ophelian!

Annalise Ophelian is an award-winning filmmaker and the producer/director of the documentary about Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, MAJOR!. She is a white, queer-identified cis woman, psychologist, and consultant whose work includes Diagnosing Difference (2009).

Miss Major is a formerly incarcerated Black trans elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. She is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, and previously worked as the Executive Director of Astraea grantee partner Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) based in San Francisco.

In the video above, Ophelian and Miss Major discuss MAJOR! and what it meant to receive support from Astraea.

Learn more about Annalise Ophelian and Miss Major.


Video transcript:

[Director, Annalise Ophelian]: As a queer woman, I feel like my life is lived on a path that Miss Major has paved and I hope that being able to document her life in this film is some small part of paying homage to what I think we all as LGBT folks owe our foremothers.

[Trans Activist/Community Leader, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy]: I believe that through this documentary, there is an opportunity for the girls to see we all struggle, you know, and that finally there’s an older transgender person out, proud of who they are, ready to tell you about it.

[Annalise Ophelian]: The Astraea Global Arts Fund was really pivotal in the production of this film. That funding was the difference between having a film and not having a film.

[Miss Major]: One of the things that happened is, through the blessing of Annalise, I got an opportunity to see me, and to take a breath for a minute: “Wow, I’ve been really busy.” Why I have been doing this over 40 years? It’s because it’s needed to be done this whole 40 years.

[Annalise Ophelian]: One of the things that I really love about Astraea is that they don’t just fund, but they’re also so committed to networking. We are really excited to be able to partner with Astraea in terms of just bringing the film to audience.I mean so much of Major’s work is about her personal interaction with community, and the film is a way that Major gets to actually have that connection with folks globally.

[Miss Major]: Astraea helping the film was just great. I mean, because it’s like they appreciate Annalise, and by them appreciating her, it meant that they appreciated me. And how wonderful is that to know that somebody appreciates you?

[Annalise Ophelian]: I think that film has so, so much power to influence people and to change the world.

[Voiceover]: …it will serve as an enduring reminder of our legacy of resilience, of where we are now, and of how far we must move and journey together.


Meet Astraea Donors Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin

Astraea donors Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin share why they choose to #GiveToAstraea.

It’s Giving Tuesday! Today is a day that celebrates the role we all play in philanthropy, justice, and changing the world.

Today, in the spirit of Giving Tuesday and to kick off the giving season, we want you to hear from our long-time donors, Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin. Watch the video above to hear more about why they choose to #GiveToAstraea.

Want to help us fuel the frontlines of LGBTQI justice all around the world? Donate!

Donate Now




Jewelle and Diane were plaintiffs in a lawsuit that overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in the state of California. They were legally married in San Francisco in 2008 after 16 years of partnership. Jewelle and Diane also co-launched Astraea’s Justice Social Program in 2005.

Jewelle Gomez is an award-winning author of seven books, including the double-Lambda-Literary-Award-winning novel The Gilda Stories, an activist, Director of Grants and Community Initiatives for Horizons Foundation, and President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission. Jewelle has been an Astraea supporter since the 1980’s and was one of Astraea’s earliest board members.

Diane Sabin is the Executive Director of the Lesbian Health and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Diane has been an Astraea supporter since the 1990’s and was an Astraea board member in the 2000’s. She was also Astraea’s 2001 Philanthropic Activism Award recipient.


Video transcript:

[Donor and Supporter, Diane Sabin]: One of the amazing things that Astraea has done is bring so many individuals and organizations together for that really rich interchange and learning and new efforts that come out of that and better efforts doing what’s already been done.

[Donor and Supporter, Jewelle Gomez]: I feel a very strong commitment to the politics of feminism and to understanding how history has shaped us both as women and as lesbians and as queer people, and understanding how capitalism has been used against marginalized people. Those are really core values for me and seem to be for Astraea.

Being around Astraea for a long time, I feel really fortunate because it means I get connected to a lot of people who have serious commitment to philanthropy.

Coming off of a very strong feminist movement in the 70’s, there was a lot of political backlash from that. Astraea was trying to meet the needs of women’s organizations and lesbian organizations that had emerged from the feminist movement, but were now not gonna be supported by mainstream foundations and organizations. And Astraea stepped into that with activism through philanthropy.

[Diane Sabin]: My values would be working to create a world that is more just and equal for all. And I think Astraea has, throughout the organization’s existence, been very, very dedicated to that, been exploring what does that mean, and morphing and changing as the times morph and change, delving into new areas of thought, of action, of geography, of gender. Just an amazing organization that puts into real life the value of giving everybody an opportunity to be fully themselves and contribute to the culture in a maximal way.

[Jewelle Gomez]: I believe that liberation is a process. It’s not something we arrive at, and then we’re done. We all must learn to take part in our own liberation and the liberation of others. Over time we can work towards making social justice happen. And it’s not going to happen like overnight suddenly everything is fine. I think it’s important for everyone to learn how to make social justice as a goal part of your everyday, and one of the things that Astraea is able to do is take that intention for social justice and put it into action by supporting organizations that are doing the work that’s the most important. Then that means we’re monitoring how we give and how we behave, and I think that’s what we have to learn to do, not think “Oh I gave and then I’m done, and it’s happened,” but “Oh I gave, and now what do I give today?”

[Diane Sabin]: And I would just ask you to think of yourself as connected to it all, and dig into your pocket. Give some money. Definitely give some time. Definitely tell people about it. And let’s just continue to make a better world. That’s what it’s about.


#FuelTheFrontlines Spotlight: Jorge and Paola Ramos

We’re only days away from Astraea’s Fueling the Frontlines Awards in Los Angeles!

On May 25th, 2017 at the Ace Museum, we will gather to celebrate the frontline voices who are leading the new era of #resistance: Patrisse Cullors, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Bruce Cohen, Jorge Ramos, and Paola Ramos.

The night will also feature an exclusive performance from Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Opera by Toshi Reagon and cast members, as co-authored by civil rights activist Bernice Johnson Reagon. You won’t want to miss this bold and timely performance.

A limited number of tickets are still available. Get yours now.

Today, we are pleased to introduce you to father and daughter Fueling honorees, Emmy Award-winning journalist Jorge Ramos and Latinx public servant Paola Ramos. Together, Jorge and Paola have over 45 years’ experience in elevating the narratives and championing the issues important to queer Latinos and their allies across the United States.

Seasoned newscaster Jorge Ramos has documented five wars, covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, and interviewed countless world leaders. Ramos’ in-depth reporting and forthright commentary on human rights, immigration, white supremacy, and other issues that directly impact our communities is his invaluable contribution to the resistance. After being physically removed from a press conference in 2015 by asking how the then-hopeful Trump administration planned to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, Ramos did not cease asking the hard questions: instead, he went directly to the source, creating the documentary Hate Rising, an expose on the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis, and other emboldened hate groups in the United States.

“Discrimination is still present in this country. We need organizations like Astraea to make sure that the rights of everyone are being protected,” Ramos tells us.

Sharing her father’s vision for a just world, New York City Council spokesperson PaolaRamos works to protect human rights by fighting for the sanctuary and equity of immigrants in the five boroughs. A fierce believer in her communities, Ramos previously served as Deputy Director of Hispanic Media for Hillary Clinton’s 2017 President Campaign, where her efforts ensured that Secretary Clinton maintained an open dialogue with Latino and immigrant communities across the country. “We have Dreamers knocking on doors which never have before. We see Latinos lining up with their grandmothers and their cousins. It’s our job to capture those positive stories and to keep it going,” she urges.

Join us in honoring Jorge and Paola Ramos for their tireless commitment to migrant rights on May 25th.

Unable to attend the Awards? Still want to celebrate the intrepid spirits of grassroots activists? Donate a ticket so that a community member can attend this inspiring event. To learn more, please contact Loran Hamilton at lhwarner@astraeafoundation.org.

#FueltheFrontlines Spotlight: WHEN WE RISE producer Bruce Cohen

We are nearly a week away from Astraea’s Fueling the Frontlines Awards in sunny Los Angeles, California!

On May 25th, 2017 at the Ace Museum, Astraea will honor the frontline activists who are leading the new era of #resistance: Patrisse Cullors, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Bruce Cohen, Jorge Ramos, and Paola Ramos.

The night will also feature a special ensemble performance from Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Opera, co-authored by Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon––a production that was made for times like these!

Have you made plans to spend a memorable evening with us? If not, a limited number of tickets are still available. Get yours today.

Today, we excited to introduce you to 2017 Fueling the Frontlines honoree Bruce Cohen, who passionately believes in the intimate stories behind our queer liberation.

Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen is renowned in Hollywood for producing nuanced films about everyday people, including our LGBTQI movement forbearers. In addition to an Academy Award win for American Beauty in 2000, Bruce was nominated in 2009 for his work on Milk and again in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook. Milk, directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black, tells the story of Harvey Milk, the celebrated gay rights activist who became the first out elected official in California, thus paving the way for queer civil servants across the country.

In 2017, Bruce once more teamed up with Black on Black’s creation When We Rise, an epic television miniseries that tells the story of the first forty years of queer movement building in the United States. From Cleve Jones and Roma Guy to the Daughters of Bilitis and ACT UP, our community’s history is dramatized in six episodes that are masterfully staged by some of the greatest LGBTQI directors––including Astraea grantee partner Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie) and Van Sant.

Join us in honoring Bruce for his commitment to queer artistic collaboration and his championing of on-screen resistance on May 25th.

Get your tickets today.

MediaJustice (formerly Center for Media Justice)

The Center for Media Justice fights for racial and economic justice in a digital age by advancing communication rights, access, and power for all communities harmed by persistent inequality and oppression.

The MediaJustice (formerly the Center for Media Justice) fights for racial and economic justice in a digital age by advancing communication rights, access, and power for all communities harmed by persistent inequality and oppression. Launched in 2009, MediaJustice envisions a future where under-represented communities have the power to create the media and communications environment they need to win justice in a changing world. The MediaJustice recognizes that inadequate access to communication technologies speeds up and worsens racial discrimination, expands the carceral state and surveillance structures, and further criminalizes Black, migrant, indigenous, LGBTQI, and low-income communities. Centering the power of narrative within movements for racial and economic justice, MediaJustice houses the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net): the largest formation of constituency-based organizations that collaborates for communication rights, access, and power. Since 2008, MAG-Net members have successfully collaborated with partners across movements to win open internet protections, reduce interstate prison phone rates, block destructive corporate media mergers, and modernize low-income Lifeline programs that connect millions of low-income households to faster broadband service.

#FueltheFrontlines Spotlight: Activist and trans organizer Jennicet Gutiérrez

Have you made plans to attend this year’s Fueling the Frontlines Awards yet? Please join us on May 25, 2017 at the Ace Museum in Los Angeles as we honor the frontline activists leading the new era of #resistance: Patrisse Cullors, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Jorge Ramos, and Paola Ramos.

We are organizing at the moment to mobilize our communities because the new administration came out heavily attaching the immigrant community. We want to make sure we have a plan in place to protect and defend.

Jennicet Gutiérrez

Tickets are selling quickly; get yours soon.

Today, we are excited to profile translatina activist and 2017 Fueling the Frontlines honoree Jennicet Gutiérrez.

Jennicet believes that her struggle for liberation began with her birth in Tuxpan, Jalisco, México, which was unaided by a midwife. In the three decades since then, she’s fearlessly advocated for her fellow trans people of color. An organizer with Los Angeles-based Astraea grantee partner Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Jennicet works to end the deportation, incarceration, and criminalization of immigrants and all Brown and Black folks. Recently, Familia has successfully campaigned to terminate Santa Ana County Jail’s contract with ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement), thus ending the inhumane detainment of immigrants.

In June 2015, Jennicet received national media attention and created a critically important platform for undocumented LGBTQI people when she bravely interrupted President Barack Obama’s LGBT Pride Month Reception speech to draw attention to the growing numbers of LGBTQ people being forcefully held by the United States. “I spoke out to demand respect and acknowledgement of our gender expression and the release of the estimated 75 transgender immigrants in detention right now. There is no pride in how LGBTQ immigrants are treated in this country and there can be no celebration with an administration that has the ability to keep us detained and in danger or release us to freedom,” she wrote in the Washington Blade the next day.

Currently, Jennicet and Familia are tirelessly working to end the deportation of Valeria de la Luz, an undocumented transwoman, through the #FreeValeria campaign.

Proceeds from Fueling the Frontlines benefit LGBTQI grassroots activists like Jennicet who are doing brave and bold work in the United States and around the world.

Get your tickets today.

Unable to attend the Awards? Still want to celebrate the intrepid spirits of grassroots activists? Donate a ticket so that a community member can attend this inspiring event. To learn more, please contact Loran Hamilton at lhwarner@astraeafoundation.org.


The 2017 Fueling the Frontlines Host Committee

Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project

Launched in December of 2017, the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project formed in response to the invisibilization of Black LGBTQIA migrants’ experiences of being undocumented, queer, and Black within migrant narratives, immigration justice, and racial justice movements.

Launched in December of 2017, the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project formed in response to the invisibilization of Black LGBTQIA migrants’ experiences of being undocumented, queer, and Black within migrant narratives, immigration justice, and racial justice movements. BLMP recognizes that their community lives in a space where racism, xenophobia, misogyny, trans/homophobia, policing, detention & deportation, and criminalization uniquely targets the daily life, wellness, and safety of queer and trans Black migrants. They envision a world where all Black LGBTQIA migrants and their loved ones have housing, bodily autonomy, health and the ability to travel freely with dignity and safety. Working at the local, regional, and national level to face multifaceted & intensifying attacks on their communities, they organize community and movement building events around the country to reduce isolation, create support systems for trans and queer Black migrants, and build leadership and local power to defend Black LGBTQIA+ communities. Comprised of and led by an intergenerational yet mostly youth steering committee of  13 queer, trans, women, undocumented/under-documented, and 1st generation migrants, and with three network-leads in California, D.C., and Houston, BLMP is leading trainings and community gatherings throughout the US South, West, Midwest and Northeast; in particular, with trainings focused on transformative community organizing, healing practices to address trauma, and know your rights trainings when dealing with police and ICE. View their mini documentary: https://youtu.be/hmyvvc91BCs

#FueltheFrontlines Spotlight: Black Lives Matter’s Patrisse Cullors

We are nearly a month away from this year’s Fueling the Frontlines Awards at Los Angeles’ Ace Museum! On May 25, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, Astraea will honor the frontline activists and cultural changemakers who are leading the new era of #resistance, including PatrisseCullors, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Jorge Ramos, and Paola Ramos.

When we say ALL Black Lives Matter, we mean Black trans folks! We mean black queer folks! …’We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.’

Patrisse Cullors, quoting June Jordan

Tickets are limited! Get yours today!

This week, we are honored to profile 2017 Fueling the Frontlines honoree and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, artist, organizer, and freedom fighter Patrisse Cullorsbecame involved in grassroots activism as a teenager. During Patrisse‘s youth, her 19 year-old mentally ill brother was incarcerated and tortured by local law enforcement. “Growing up with this visceral experience of policing really shaped my organizing work,” Patrisse told Fusion last winter. “There were no organizers knocking on our door telling us to join a movement. There were no hashtags for social media. There was a lot of despair.”

Ten years later, Patrisse created the organization Dignity and Power Now, which pursued and won civilian oversight of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department––a victory that brought justice to her family while protecting countless others.

Watch Patrisse’s Fusion interview in its entirety:

In 2013, Patrisse, with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, co-founded Black Lives Matter as a response to the enraging aquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. What began as a hashtag soon became an urgent call to action against police brutality and criminalization in the United States. Black Lives Matter has since expanded into an intricate network of 30 local chapters and thousands of determined activists fighting anti-Black racism worldwide.

Patrisse has received many awards for her organizing and movement building, including being named a “Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century” by The Los Angeles Times. Her memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press.

Support Patrisse and others like her who are during brave and imperative work. Get your tickets to Fueling the Frontlines today.

Unable to attand the Awards? Still want to celebrate the intrepid spirits of grassroots activists? Donate a ticket so that a community member can attend this inspiring event. To learn more, please contact Loran Hamilton at lhwarner@astraeafoundation.org.