Iranti-Org formed in 2012 to help local and regional lesbian, trans, intersex and gender non-conforming (LTIGNC) movements in South Africa and across the continent use media as a platform for mobilization and shifting public dialogue.
Iranti-Org formed in 2012 to help local and regional lesbian, trans, intersex and gender non-conforming (LTIGNC) movements in South Africa and across the continent use media as a platform for mobilization and shifting public dialogue. They support organizations to document human rights violations and produce evidence-based materials, and they also support cultural production to change attitudes about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Iranti-Org does this work to address the poor media capacity of LTIGNC groups, most of which don’t have media and documentation equipment or training in how to work with media; digital security is also a pressing need. In an exciting development, they recently launched an LBTIGNC Media Makers Network that supports activists across Southern Africa to produce their own media. In South Africa, Iranti-Org’s own media production and reporting plays a key role in strengthening the national LGBTQ movement. In collaboration with LGBTQ community groups across the country, they investigate hate crimes, use their reporting to hold the state accountable for addressing violence, and document LGBTQ mobilization.
Astraea and our grantee partners recognize the power of art to create social change. Through our Global Arts Fund and threaded throughout our work, we showcase and connect art by LGBTQI people and organizations that use art as a tool for social transformation.
Astraea and our grantee partners recognize the power of art to create social change. Through our Global Arts Fund and threaded throughout our work, we showcase and connect art by LGBTQI people and organizations that use art as a tool for social transformation. Spanning multiple genres, our grantee partners’ exemplary work has been acknowledged by Sundance, the American Film Institute and the Museum of Modern Art.
Film holds a unique role in social change. As lesbian experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer writes, “I chose film and video as a medium to make the invisible, visible… I want people to leave the theater with fresh perceptions, emboldened to take active and political stances for social change in a global environment.”
Watch From Home
The New Black (Dir. Yoruba Richen)
Directed, produced and written by Global Arts Fund panelist Yoruba Richen, this documentary offers a comprehensive look at “how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights.” The New Black utilizes a decade’s worth of newsreel footage and features interviews with prominent Black voices from both sides of the marriage equality debate. Read more about this gripping documentary.
Mujeres al Borde (Colombia)
Founded in 2001, grantee partner Mujeres al Borde (Women in the Margins) uses cultural production and community building to promote the rights of women and LGBT communities. Mujeres al Borde coordinates the Audiovisual Regional School, Al Borde. Open to all women and LGBT people, Al Borde produces short films about LGBT activists in South America. These have been screened and awarded at 30 film festivals across the globe, including the Queer Women of Color Festival and the Venezuelan Film Festival of Diversity. Learn more about Mujeres al Borde’s mission to raise visibility through film.
Iranti-Org (South Africa)
Grantee partner Iranti-Org formed in 2012 to help local and regional lesbian, trans, intersex and gender non-conforming (LTIGNC) movements in South Africa and across the continent use media as a platform for mobilization and shifting public dialogue. Iranti supports organizations to document human rights violations and produce evidence-based materials, including short YouTube documentaries about violence against LGBT people in South Africa. Read about Iranti-Org’
This Trans* Day of Remembrance, Astraea mourns those our community has lost, and celebrates the legacy of one we have loved; Leslie Feinberg.
Photo taken by Kelebogile Ntladi on behalf of Iranti-Org
Each year on November 20th, we come together with our communities in the U.S. and around the globe for Transgender Day of Remembrance to celebrate the courage and resilience of those who have been murdered because of transphobia and hatred.
Today many of our grantee partners have organized commemorations and celebration events. Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) and Iranti-Org are two in South Africa who hosted a day of affirmation and celebration and renewed a mandate to ensure the government commits to increased services and policy changes for trans persons. 200 people took time to be part of the day, and one of the activists commemorated was Leslie Feinberg who died on November 15th.
Astraea joins Iranti-Org and TIA in remembering the legacy of a groundbreaking activist for trans* liberation and social justice. A fierce outspoken advocate for trans* rights, Leslie drew sharp attention to anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist issues. Zhe will be remembered for hir novels Stone Butch Blues and Transgender Liberation, editing the communist Workers Worldnewspaper, mobilizing against the KKK in Atlanta and defending Buffalo, NY from anti-choicers. Remember me as a revolutionary communist. were hir last words, as reported in an obituary by Feinbergs partner of 22 years, activist and poet Minnie Bruce Pratt.
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.
Today, on Trans* Day of Remembrance, we stand in solidarity with trans* folks around the world and recommit ourselves to supporting struggles for gender, racial and economic justice for all. We also recognize the impact Leslie had on our lives and the lives of many of our grantee partners. To honor hir wide-reaching legacy we share a few stories from grantee partners and friends who recount the life changing impact zhe had on us as activists, as lovers, as friends and comrades.
Mauro Cabral, Co-Director, Global Action for Trans* Equality, Argentina
“I met Leslie Feinberg in the mid nineties, when their name represented a poetic and political discourse among lesbians and trans men. Apart from being a benchmark literary figure, Feinberg’s work engaged with themes of solidarity, love, friendship, and hope. Leslie Feinberg wasn’t just a popular North American writer to us, but someone who instigated a constellation of emotions that impacted our ways of resisting, speaking, feeling, and writing about our identities. Leslie was one of the key authors we would incorporate into our work and was someone who ignited passion in us about our lives. With Leslie’s death, I feel a piece of the world has died, but of course they have left us with the legacy of a shared struggle to change the world.”
Liesl Theron – founder of Gender DynamiX, South Africa
“It is obviously impossible for me to speak for South Africans, or for any people in the global South, I can really just speak for myself. Both early publications of Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues and Trans Liberation – Beyond Pink or Blue were potentially the two most read books in countries where there were not many/any other trans/lesbian/queer publications available. They both became most influential to many, many trans* and lesbian people. They were read in shared community libraries, queer book clubs and disseminated far beyond activist circles because they covered so many intersecting struggles. They became important to many activists and struggle lives, ideologies and formations. I am yet to meet or know of a trans activist who is so widely read….Trans Liberation, which is the more political of the two, is written in an easy-to-read English. People who are not academic scholars can easily access it. A great person, with sterling analytical mind left us.”
To find Transgender Day of Remembrance events in your community, visit the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website.
To learn more about International Day of Action Against Trans Depathologization, visit Stop Trans Pathologization.
Read this month’s news from our grantee partners. Aswat, Forum for the Empowerment of Women, and Sylvia Rivera Law Project celebrate their 10th anniversaries. Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals & Gays’ drop in center for homeless gays closed under pressure from city officials. And, Womens Coalition of Hong Kongs twelve years of organizing work has led to significant victories in Legislative Council of Hong Kongs 2012 elections.
Congratulations on a Decade
Three Astraea grantee partners, Aswat, Forum for the Empowerment of Women, and Sylvia Rivera Law Project, are celebrating their 10th anniversaries. We congratulate them for their groundbreaking work, and the immense contributions they have made in the past decade towards LGBTQI rights, freedom from violence, and empowerment.
Aswat is a group of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and queer Palestinian women. They establish safe and supportive spaces for Palestinian LBTQI women to address personal, social, and political struggles as a national indigenous minority living inside Israel, as women in a patriarchal society, and as LBTQI women in a wider hetero-normative culture.
Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) addresses violence against lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people in South Africa through political mobilization, brokering relationships between community members and local police and legal authorities, and increasing community visibility through events such as SOWETO Pride. FEW also leads media training for lesbian, bisexual, and trans women, and training programs in high schools to make educators aware of the needs of vulnerable students.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) provides access to legal services for low-income transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people. In addition to community training and public education, SRLP tackles policy reform, and undertakes precedent-setting lawsuits to end institutional discrimination, violence, and coercion on the basis of gender identity and expression. SRLP is a non-hierarchical collective, by and for the community, that strives to maximize political voice and power while providing desperately needed services.
J-FLAG Forced to Close Center for Homeless Gays
We are saddened to learn that our grantee partner Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals & Gays (J-FLAG) was forced to close down Jamaicas only drop-in center for homeless gays, under pressure from city officials. A testament to J-FLAGs work, the group reported in their 2012 National Survey of Attitudes and Perceptions of Jamaicans Towards Same-Sex Relationships that while Jamaicans continue to have strong negative attitudes towards homosexuality, one in every five Jamaican is tolerant of LGBT persons and would support an addendum to the charter of rights affording rights to the LGBT community. Read more about the centers closing.
Victories in Hong Kong for “LGBT Platform 2012”
Women’s Coalition of Hong Kong collaboratively developed the LGBT Platform 2012, a platform for political candidates covering 8 issues vital to LGBT citizens.
The comprehensive platform demands legislative protection around a variety of issues including sexual orientation discrimination, employment discrimination, same sex partners’ rights, domestic violence among same sex partners, LGBT-sensitive health care services, and gender equality in education.
Women’s Coalition successfully lobbied to secure full endorsement of the platform by 15 candidates and partial support from 8 candidates. Of the 15 candidates in full support, 9 were elected into office, marking the highest number of elected officials committed to an LGBT platform since Women’s Coalition began mobilizing twelve years ago with the LegCo campaign in 2000. Amidst Women’s Coalition’s efforts during the campaigns, elected official Raymond Chan became the first ever openly gay representative in Hong Kong’s 70-person legislative assembly.
Established in 2002, Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) is a black lesbian feminist organization that engages in advocacy, education and action.
Established in 2002, Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) is a black lesbian feminist organization that engages in advocacy, education and action to ensure that black lesbians enjoy holistic freedom, wellness, dignity and bodily autonomy in all aspects of their lives. FEW is currently focused on building the Rainbow Activist Alliance (RAA), a network of 15 community based LGBTI organizations in several provinces across South Africa, collectively working to create safer communities, ensure access to appropriate public health care, ensure non-discrimination within the criminal justice system, and build black lesbian leadership. While the issue of pervasive violence against Black lesbians in South Africa has seen a increased visibility over quite a period of time, black lesbians and gender non-conforming people continue to face heightened level of violence, discrimination, marginalization and exclusion. FEW’s cultural activism, direct action and advocacy builds pressure for state accountability for this violence.