Love is a Revolutionary Practice

Love is a Revolutionary Practice

To love in these times is revolutionary. We are reminded, every day, how radical it is to truly love as we confront homophobic laws, violence and discrimination. As radical philanthropists, activists, organizers and artists, we fight to make this world a better place for LGBTQI folks everywhere. Love–motivating lots of hard work & brilliant organizing–will create this world. We should never have to choose safety over self-determination. An army of lovers cannot fail!

On this Valentine’s day, we celebrate our brilliant and brave community who live the Revolution of Love by:

Painting the town Pink in Colombia

        Santamaría Fundación marching for trans womens visibility and rights at the Marcha Fucsia in Colombia

Becoming Penpals with incacerated LGBTQI folks 

By building community and working to demolish the violent prison system.

Black & Pink, Astraea grantee partner running a LGBTQ prisoner newsletter and Penpal program

Raising fists against violence and demanding lesbian rights in Honduras

 

Red Lésbica Cattrachas Honduras

Taking queer and trans* power to the streets!

CUAV members in SF at the Trans* March, June 2013. Photo by Erin Johnson. 
 
Photobombing Program officers
 

E.D. J. Bob Alotta with Astraea Program Officer, Namita Chad, 2015

Making art not war, because all queer her-stories are important

 

Guyana Trans United (GTU) and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) hosted a week-long “Stand Against Transphobia” photo exhibition of work by artist and curator Ulelli Verbeke.

Opening hearts and homes for fundraising

Astraea donors come together to raise funds at house parties to resource LGBTQI work. 

Denver House Party

Friends gather at Fran and Anna Simon’s Denver House Party, 2015  

Choosing safety over truth, and being an army of lovers marching for equality

More than 300 folks walked for equality to end all violence in Guyana

GEF March
Guyana Equality Forum (GEF), at Walk for Equality, say NO to Violence in Feb 2014, Guyana. Organized by Astraea grantee partner SASOD  

Waging love with our wallets

Every penny counts. Whether it’s $5 or $5000 every month because love and compassion go hand in hand.

To the thousands of donors who support us, we love you.

To the fearless folks on the frontlines, we love you.

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The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom. 

– bell hooks

Astraea 2014 Highlights

This was another radical year for Astraea and the movement for LGBTQI justice. As we stand at the brink of 2015, these are some of our 2014 highlights.

Broke grantmaking records. 2014 has been our biggest grantmaking year yet. We made nearly $3 million in grants to 81 partners in 35 countries.

Astraea hits Broadway! We were on Broadway for an Uprising of Love! spearheading a movement of LGBTI activism with celebrities like Sting, Patti Lupone, Jane Lynch and many others. The concert benefited Astraea’s $20m Fueling the Frontlines campaign and featured the work of Astraea and our grantee partners!

Created the first CommsLabs. We launched the first-ever Media, Communications and Technology Lab (CommsLabs) in Bogotá, Colombia as part of the Global LGBTI Development Partnership with the USAID. Astraea convened more than 30 activists from Latin America with 12 practitioners in technology and communications, to co-create new media strategies and digital advocacy tools specifically designed to meet the needs of LGBTQI human rights defenders.

Kika Child, CommsLabs Colombia, 2014. Participants exchange gifts. Photo: Ben Parker

Four-star rating from Charity Navigator. Astraea received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities. The ratings, which are assessed annually, take into account organizational governance practices, fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. It was the highest score of any national LGBTQI organization awarded.

Mourned the loss of icons. The community mourned the loss of gender warrior Leslie Feinbergand Vernita Gray, one of Chicago’s longest and most prolific activists for LGBT rights.

              Left: Vernita Gray. Right: The 1993 Lesbian Writer’s Fund Awards Gala,

Pictured left to right: Cheryl Clarke, Leslie Feinberg, Minnie Bruce Pratt, event emcee Karen Williams, and Cheryl Neal Reed

Intersectional organizing to end state violence. Astraea grantee partners are collectively organizing mass action to end state violence. #BlackLivesMatter is an intersectional movement, led by African American people and queers. Many of Astraea’s grantee partners have helped amplify and lead these waves of change. BreakOUT! and the New Orleans Worker’s Center for Racial Justice organized a Children’s March for Human Rights on October 24th. Streetwise and Safe (SAS) organized a #GetYrRights tweeter rally to bring attention to the power of knowing your rights when interacting with the police as LGBTQ youth. Southerners on New Ground (SONG) coordinated #BlackLivesMatterEverywhere actions with other community organizations and blocked a busy highway in Atlanta, Georgia in honor of the 19th annual National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality. Astraea continues to partner with Communities United for Police Reform(CPR) campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York.

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Southerners on New Ground. #BlackLivesMatter Action ATL GA Photo: Lorraine Fontana

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) wins across the globe.

  • UN human rights body condemned violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Cuba banned employment discrimination
  • In Ecuador, 450 public servants in the health and judicial sector received training on SOGI non discriminatory practises
  • In the United States, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to protect LGBT workers
  • Australia passed the first non-discrimination law protecting intersex people.
  • The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights passed a resolution condemning violence based on SOGI
  • In Kenya and Peru the court legalized trans* name changes and supported individual rights to self determination.
  • Secured partial adoption rights for same sex couples in Colombia
  • Achieved a seventh resolution on LGBTI rights in Latin America.

Trans* rights gained momentum. But we have a long way to go. The Indian Supreme Court officially recognized a third gender, paving the way for access to improved state welfare. 10,000 people gathered in Istanbul for the largest Trans* Pride March ever, despite increased attempts by the state to repress protests since Gezi. Actress Laverne Cox became the first trans* person to appear on the cover of TIME magazine. However, violence against trans* folks and women of color in particular persists. The IDAHOT 2014 update reveals a total of 1,509 reported killings of trans and gender variant people in 61 countries worldwide from January 1st 2008 to March 31st 2014.

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 Istanbul Trans* Pride March 2014. Photo: Yasin AKGUL Astraea, grantee partner Instanbul LGBTT

Marriage equality reached a tipping point. 2014 will be recognized as the tipping point for marriage equality in the US. 35 States legalized same-sex marriage, just over 60 percent of the U.S. population now lives in a state where marriage equality is legal.

Africans celebrated wins despite the increasing sanctioned homophobia on the continent – Uganda held the first pride rally after the ‘abominable’ anti-gay law was overturned. Astraea grantee partners Freedom and Roam Uganda lead a constitutional challenge to the anti-homosexuality bill along with public education and media advocacy in Uganda.

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Freedom and Roam Uganda at Uganda Pride. Photo: Molisa wa NyaKale

In 2015, we stand at the nexus of a movement for justice, recognizing that the fight for gender, racial and class equality is one we are deeply committed to. Help us support brilliant and brave LGBTQI activists on the frontlines of our communities’ struggles for liberation. Here’s to another year in this gorgeous struggle.

Batukada Estallido Feminista

The Estallido Feminista batucada is a collective of lesbians and feminists using art, theater, music, and performance to generate dissident political action.

The Estallido Feminista batucada is a collective of lesbians and feminists using art, theater, music, and performance to generate dissident political action against all forms of domination, oppression and exploitation based on sex, race, class, sexuality, and immigration status.

*** En Español***

La batucada Estallido Feminista es un colectivo de lesbianas y feministas que usan el arte, el teatro, la música y la representación del performance para generar acción política disidente contra todas las formas de dominación, opresión y explotación con base en el sexo, la raza, la clase social, la sexualidad y el estatus de inmigración.

 

Caribe Afirmativo

Caribe Afirmativo’s community has one of the highest levels of inequality, violence and lack of opportunities for its inhabitants, including violence and discrimination against LGBT communities.

Caribe Afirmativo, founded in 2009, is an LGBT organization working in the Caribbean region of Colombia, with offices in Cartagena and Santa Marta. Caribe Afirmativo’s community has one of the highest levels of inequality, violence and lack of opportunities for its inhabitants, including violence and discrimination against LGBT communities. Caribe Afirmativo documents and monitors human rights violations of LGBT people and provides support to individuals who file complaints to demand justice at the local, regional and international levels. They conduct research on lesbophobia, homophobia and transphobia and has produced work on race and racism in the Caribbean. They also work to insert the voices of LGBT communities in post-conflict processes. Finally, they use art and activism as strategies to raise visibility and create participatory spaces for community development, including supporting the popular theatrical group led by transgender women in Cartagena. *** En Español*** Caribe Afirmativo, fundada en 2009, es una organización LGBT que trabaja en la región caribeña de Colombia, con oficinas en Cartagena y Santa Marta. El Caribe colombiano tiene uno de los niveles más altos de desigualdad, violencia y falta de oportunidades para sus habitantes, incluyendo la violencia y la discriminación contra las comunidades LGBT. Caribe Afirmativo documenta y monitorea rigurosamente las violaciones de derechos humanos de las personas LGBT y ofrece acompañamiento a personas que someten quejas para exigir justicia a nivel local, regional e internacional. Realiza investigaciones sobre la lesbofobia, la homofobia y la transfobia y ha producido trabajo sobre la raza y el racismo en el Caribe. También trabaja para insertar las voces de las comunidades LGBT en procesos posteriores a conflictos. Por último, usa el arte y el activismo como estrategias para elevar la visibilidad y crear espacios participativos para el desarrollo comunitario, incluyendo apoyar al grupo teatral popular liderado por mujeres trans “Transformando” en Cartagena.

Batucada Feminista La Tremenda Revoltosa

The feminist batucada La Tremenda Revoltosa is a collective composed of 20 feminist percussionists, most of them Afro-Colombian lesbians, who are committed to social transformation.

The feminist batucada La Tremenda Revoltosa is a collective composed of 20 feminist percussionists, most of them Afro-Colombian lesbians, who are committed to social transformation. They believe that the revolution will happen if people take it to the streets and believe that music inspires revolution. Through percussion and its activism in the streets, they advocate for dignity and against oppression, violence and silence.

*** En Español***

La batucada feminista La Tremenda Revoltosa es un colectivo compuesto por 20 percusionistas feministas, en su mayoría lesbianas afrocolombianas, que están comprometidas con la transformación social. Cree que la revolución se dará si la gente la saca a las calles y cree que la música inspira a la revolución. A través de la percusión y su activismo en las calles, aboga por la dignidad y en contra de la opresión, la violencia y el silencio.

 

10 LGBTQI Activist Moments of 2013

At Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the last days of the year are a time to honor brave leaps forward and take stock of political set backs for LGBTQI rights activism in 2013. By no means comprehensive, we offer a brief survey of ten moments of LGBTQI activism around the globe in 2013. Join the conversation online and share more moments with us on facebook and twitter using #LGBTQIActivistMoments!

At Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the last days of the year are a time to honor brave leaps forward and take stock of political set backs for LGBTQI rights activism in 2013. By no means comprehensive, we offer a brief survey of ten moments of LGBTQI activism around the globe in 2013. Join the conversation online and share more moments with us on facebook and twitter using #LGBTQIActivistMoments!

1. Edith Windsor’s win for Marriage Equality: the Defense of Marriage Act is declared unconstitutional by U.S. Supreme Court. Federal recognition is afforded to same-sex marriages performed under state law. The U.S. becomes one of a handful of countries pushing same-sex marriage forward.

2. In a set back in Colombia, the nation’s same-sex marriage bill failed to pass the Senate and bypass coalition opposition led by the Attorney General. Legal ambiguity remains, however, with constitutional recognition of legal registry in effect. Couples can approach notaries or judges to marry, but their requests remain in the hands of officials who can deny them.

3. Years of policy advocacy, movement building, and direct action by LGBTQI activists of color produced hard-fought victories for immigration rights in California. The city of San Francisco passed an ordinance limiting the Secure Communities program (S-Comm), effectively reducing the threat of deportation to anyone arrested by local police. And the state of California passed the Trust Act, prohibiting local law enforcement agencies from detaining people for deportation if arrested for a minor or non-violent crime and are otherwise eligible to be released from custody.

4. New York City Council passed the Community Safety Act, winning New Yorkers protection from the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy. Simultaneously, Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin issued a decision declaring stop-and-frisk as practiced by the NYPD unconstitutional. While this ruling was appealed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s administration, Mayor-Elect Bill DeBlasio has pledged to drop this appeal and it remains to be seen exactly how these new protections against police abuse will be enacted.

5. Ugandan LGBTI advocacy groups made collective strides pinpointing American evangelist involvement in anti-gay persecution in Uganda. The U.S. court case “Sexual Minorities Uganda vs. Scott Lively” moved forward while the Ugandan parliament unexpectedly passed its “Kill the Gays” bill.

6. Cuban lawmakers approve a proposal to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

7. LGBTQI activism swelled after India’s Supreme Court upheld a colonial-era law, Section 377 of India’s penal code, and recriminalized same-sex relations. The Court’s decision overruled a previous ruling of 377 as unconstitutional by the Delhi High Court, and severely set back LGBTQI human rights protections in India.

8. LGBTQI human rights activists in Russia witnessed a show of support around the winter Olympic games in Sochi. Activists called for action, reporting heightened LGBTQI violence since the Russian government passed an anti-gay propaganda law and conducted nationwide raids of nongovernmental organizations to identify “foreign agents” earlier in the year. International advocacy efforts include Billie Jean King, Brian Boitano, and other gay athletes joining a U.S. delegation to the Olympics.

9. In a unanimous 9-0 ruling, Canada’s Supreme Court decriminalized sex work offering constitutional protections to sex workers’ health and safety.

10. Guyana courts upheld a partial ban on cross-dressing deeming it illegal if done for “improper purposes.” LGBTQI rights groups in Guyana including Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination rallied to appeal the judgment to protect transgender people from being persecuted by 120-year-old law.

Astraea Grantee Partner Premieres at Sundance

Astraea grantee partner PARIAH premieres today as a Sundance Film Festival official selection in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.  The film is a powerful example of the power of arts and culture to move hearts and make change by telling the untold story. It is a coming of age feature-length film that asks the critical question, “Who do you become when you can’t be yourself?” It chronicles the struggles of a young Black lesbian as she juggles ill-fitting identities in attempts to please family and friends.

PARIAH is one of few LGBTI projects that have garnered support and accolades from the film industry including the Tribeca Institute, IFP and Film Independent. The short version of the film toured festivals widely, winning 25 best short awards.

The struggles of LGBTI youth of color to juggle community and sexual/gender identity are largely unexamined in the mainstream. PARIAH brings these issues to light in its compelling story. The filmmakers write “We aspire to the idea of change, one popcorn bucket at a time.”

Astraea Believes Arts and Culture are Powerful Tools that Change Hearts and Minds.

Organizations the world over are using media for social change. Astraea funds film, theater and dance projects as well as organizations who have integrated arts and culture in their social change work.

  • Now in its fifth year, Queer Black Cinema in New York holds an annual film festival showcasing films about the Black LGBTQ experience from around the world.
  • Mujeres al Borde in Bogotá, Colombia presented their play To Be Different: a Right at 30 public high schools, reaching more than 5,000 students.
  • In China, China Queer Independent Film has reached more than 2,000 people across the country by showcasing some of the first Chinese-language LGBTI films.

To read more about Astraea grantee partners, visit our interactive grants map.

Santamaría Fundación

Santamaría Fundación focuses its work on the idea of self-determination.

Santamaría Fundación was founded in 2005 by four trans women who had witnessed the death of one of their friends as a result of lack of access to health services. Today, Santamaría Fundación has ten years of experience in fostering the leadership of transgender, transgender and transvestite people in Cali, the fourth largest city in Colombia and one with one of the highest levels of transphobic hate crimes. They also works with migrants who come to Cali in search of opportunities. Santamaría Fundación focuses its work on the idea of self-determination. It provides legal support for trans women, implements holistic health strategies and campaigns, and advocates for policies with local and national governments. Santamaría Fundación’s current strategies include laying the groundwork for a campaign for a gender identity law; Documenting human rights violations through its “Observatory” program on human rights; Monitor the police; Raise the visibility of LGBT people and build alliances with other social movements; And organize the annual march for sexual and gender diversity in the Pacific region in Cali. *** En Español*** Santamaría Fundación fue fundada en 2005 por cuatro mujeres trans que habían sido testigos de la muerte de una de sus amistades como resultado de la falta de acceso a servicios de salud. Hoy, Santamaría Fundación tiene diez años de experiencia fomentando el liderazgo de mujeres trans, personas transgénero y travestis en Cali, la cuarta ciudad más grande de Colombia y una con uno de los niveles más altos de crímenes de odio transfóbicos. También trabaja con migrantes que vienen a Cali en busca de oportunidades. Santamaría Fundación enfoca su trabajo en la idea de la autodeterminación. Ofrece acompañamiento legal para las mujeres trans, implementa estrategias y campañas de salud holística y hace trabajo de defensoría de políticas con gobiernos locales y nacionales. Las estrategias actuales de Santamaría Fundación incluyen sentar las bases para trabajar una campaña por una ley de identidad de género; documentar las violaciones de derechos humanos a través de su programa “Observatorio” de derechos humanos; monitorear a la policía; elevar la visibilidad de las personas LGBT y construir alianzas con otros movimientos sociales; y organizar la marcha anual por la diversidad sexual y de género en la región del Pacífico en Cali.

Meet the Activist: COLOMBIA DIVERSA

Did you miss the event?  Watch and listen to the recording now!

Join Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice on Friday, March 12 for a Meet the Activist event featuring Colombia Diversa, an International Fund grantee partner. Come to our New York office or call-in to listen to Marcela Sánchez Buitrago of COLOMBIA DIVERSA. Marcela, an expert on LGBT communities in Colombia, will discuss victories for same-sex couples, progress on the rights of trans people in prison, and other trends on sexual rights in Colombia and the Latin American region.

 

Founded in 2004, Colombia Diversa is a LGBT organization with national reach working for the full inclusion, recognition and mobilization of LGBT people in Colombia. Colombia Diversa is seizing a unique, timely opportunity to mobilize large-scale policy change through human rights monitoring, advocacy, community organizing, and litigation.

The Meet the Activist event is a series of roundtable discussions hosted by Astraea as a means to connect grantee partners with supporters in a first-hand and in-depth manner.  All events are available both in-person or via a call-in and are recorded for possible future broadcast.  Don’t miss this in-depth look at Colombia, and stay tuned to hear from Astraea grantee partners from all over the world.

Speaker:
Marcela Sánchez Buitrago, Executive Director, Colombia Diversa

Friday, March 12
12:30 – 2:30 PM EST (1:00 – 2:00 PM EST for call-in participants only)

Astraea Foundation [map]
116 East 16th Street, 7th Floor
(between Irving Place and Union Square East)
New York, NY

This event will be bilingual in Spanish and English.
This is Brown Bag Event – please bring your own lunch to enjoy.

To provide the most amount of access, we are offering you the opportunity to RSVP in person or to call-in via phone conference.  Please select option below.

Community Sponsors:
CINEMAROSA
Hispanics in Philanthropy
International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Latinos/as Unidos de New York

Make the Road New York
Trans Empowerment New York

¡Conoce a Activistas! Presentando a COLOMBIA DIVERSA

¡Acompana a Astraea–Fundación Lésbica por la Justicia el viernes 12 de marzo en nuestro evento

¡Conoce a Activistas! presentando a Colombia Diversa, una organización contraparte de nuestro Fondo Internacional! Ven a nuestras oficinas en Nueva York o llámanos para escuchar a Marcela—una experta en la situación y derechos de comunidades LGBT en Colombia—hablar sobre las estrategias y logros de la organización a nivel nacional. También compartirá sobre los asuntos en que se enfoca Colombia Diversa y el estado de los movimientos por derechos sexuales en el país y en la región de América Latina. Después de la presentación habrá un poco de tiempo para reflexionar a través de una sesión de “preguntas y respuestas”.

Fundada en el 2004, Colombia Diversa es una organización LGBT de alcance nacional que trabaja por la inclusión plena, el reconocimiento y la movilización de la personas LGBT en Colombia. Colombia Diversa está aprovechando un momento único y oportuno para buscar cambios en política pública en gran escala por medio de monitoreo de derechos humanos, incidencia política, organización comunal y estrategias legales.

El evento ¡Conoce a Activistas! forma parte de una serie de conversaciones, estilo mesa redonda, auspiciada por Astraea como una manera de conectar a organizaciones contrapartes en persona y de manera profunda con un público abierto a sus ideas.  Los eventos son en vivo y por teleconferencia y son grabados para posible difusión futura (a nuestra discreción).  ¡No te pierdas esta mirada profunda de asuntos LGBT en Colombia, y manténte pendiente en el futuro para escuchar a otras organizaciones contrapartes de Astraea alrededor del mundo!

Ponente:

Marcela Sánchez Buitrago, Directora Ejecutiva, Colombia Diversa

Viernes 12 de marzo

12:30 – 2:30 PM Hora EST (1:00 – 2:00 PM Hora EST para participantes en la teleconferencia)

Evento de Mediodía – favor de traer tu propio almuerzo

Oficinas de la Fundación Astraea

116 E. Calle 16, 7mo Piso

(entre Calles Irving Place & Union Square East)

Manhattan, Nueva York

Para proveer la mayor oportunidad de acceso a este evento, ofrecemos la opción de responder para asistir en persona o por teleconferencia. Para participar por favor selecciona una de las opciones abajo:

Community Sponsors:
CINEMAROSA
Hispanics in Philanthropy
International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Latinos/as Unidos de New York

Make the Road New York
Trans Empowerment New York

GLEFAS- Grupo Latinoamericano De Estudios, Formacion Y Accion Feminista

Founded in 2007, the Grupo Latinoamericano de Estudio, Formación y Acción Feminista (GLEFAS) is a leading regional group that is initiating important dialogues, conversations, and political actions within the feminist and lesbian feminist movement.

Founded in 2007, the Grupo Latinoamericano de Estudio, Formación y Acción Feminista (GLEFAS) is a leading regional group that is initiating important dialogues, conversations, and political actions within the feminist and lesbian feminist movement in Latin América and the Caribbean, as well as other social movements and land struggles in the region, looking to join efforts for more comprehensive policies to confront different forms of oppression. As Caribbean and Latin American anti-racist and decolonial feminists, one of their goals is to produce autonomous knowledge from their own positioning as black, indigenous, and lesbian activists from the South. They collaborate with non-white and mixed-race women (or women of color, as it is commonly used in the United States) who are committed to intersectional politics and views in Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Peru, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, the United States, and Europe. In response to the regional context of war, militarization, and violence, GLEFAS seeks to produce a political analysis from an anti-racist, anti-military, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, feminist lesbian perspective. GLEFAS seeks to support the creation of collectives in different countries of the region. *** En Español*** Fundado en 2007, el Grupo Latinoamericano de Estudio, Formación y Acción Feminista (GLEFAS) es un grupo regional líder que está iniciando importantes diálogos, conversaciones y acciones políticas dentro del movimiento feminista y lésbico feminista de América Latina y el Caribe, así como con otros movimientos sociales y de luchas territoriales en la región en la búsqueda de aunar esfuerzos para políticas más integrales que impliquen enfrentar diferentes formas de la opresión. Una de sus metas como feministas antirracistas y descoloniales latinoamericanas y caribeñas es producir un conocimiento autónomo desde sus propios posicionamientos como activistas lesbianas, indígenas y negras del sur. Colaboran con mujeres no blancas y mestizas comprometidas con una mirada y una política interseccional (o de color, como se dice comúnmente en Estados Unidos) en Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Perú, República Dominicana, México, Ecuador, Brasil, Estados Unidos y Europa. En respuesta al contexto regional de guerra, militarización y violencia, GLEFAS busca producir un análisis político desde una perspectiva feminista y lésbica antirracista, antimilitarista, anticolonial y anticapitalista. GLEFAS busca apoyar la formación de colectivos en diferentes países en la región.