45 Years of Joy in Resistance: Our 2022 Annual Report is here!

Our 2022 Annual Report celebrates Astraea’s 45th anniversary! We center the joy, community, hope, and resistance of our collective movements’ past and present to look toward our future.

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is thrilled to release our Annual Report for our 2022 fiscal year. Entitled 45 Years of Joy in Resistance, our 2022 Annual Report celebrates the Astraea Foundation’s 45th anniversary with stories of our grantee partners, photography from our archives, and showcases the impact of donations from supporters like you.

Over the last 45 years, Astraea’s staff and partners have witnessed ups and downs, celebrations and disagreements, and both joy and struggle. Many of these memories weren’t captured on film, but they’ve added up to help build resilient, intersectional movements in feminist philanthropy. Astraea continues to ground our philanthropy model on supporting grantees with unrestricted and flexible resources, which allow movements to build capacity and strengthen their resiliency when responding to community needs, especially as the rise of populist anti-gender movements continue to threaten LGBTQI+ lives around the world.

We are proud to share that in 2022:

  • Asraea disbursed more than $5.9 million in 2022 to 230 grantee partners through 263 grants
  • Over 86% of our grantees received general operating support grants, allowing for flexibility
  • 83% of our international grantmaking went to organizations in countries with obstructed, repressed, and closing civil societies

We hope you will enjoy learning more about our approach to this work in our annual report. Sincere gratitude to all of our supporters, donors, allies, and staff members, without whom this work would not be possible.

Download and read the report.

We are Resilient: Trans Day of Visibility 2023

Trans Day of Visibility is not just about celebrating our trans family and communities, but about acknowledging the continuous fight for equality, safety, security, and justice. Today and every day, Astraea is proud to amplify trans voices, and stand in solidarity with our trans communities.

Resilience. Resilience, like visibility, can be challenging and complicated. We so often find resilience out of necessity. We find resilience when we face a rise in dangerous rhetoric and policy as we are in this moment. Right now in the U.S. there are 435 anti-LGBTQI+ bills working their way through legislation–the majority of which specifically target trans communities. Globally, conservative government-sanctioned criminalization and discriminatory politics and practices normalize violence towards trans communities. In moments like these, visibility feels scarier and resilience is harder to summon.

But we also get to choose resilience. We are resilient when we center care and softness, and when we build bridges and solidarity. As always, our grantees are creating change through grassroots movements and building a new political reality that is inclusive, respectful, and safe for all community members. They are doing groundbreaking work in increasingly hostile environments. As we celebrate this year’s Trans Day of Visibility, we are holding multiple truths and finding resilience in community.

Today, we are honored to share the resilient, caring, intentional work of some of our trans-led grantee partners:

  • West Africa Trans Forum (West Africa-Cameroon): West African Trans Forum (WATF) is a network of transgender people and groups led by trans, intersex and non-conforming folks. Their mission is to address violence, stigma and discrimination against trans people in West Africa and Cameroon through regional advocacy and awareness raising, ensure trans-specific healthcare and HIV care and treatment through sensitization of healthcare workers and key state and non-state actors, and to improve the capacity of individuals and organizations through capacity and movement strengthening initiatives. This year, to mark TDoV, they are hosting a webinar entitled Inclusion and visibility of Trans* people in West Africa; how far have we come?
  • MUDE – Movimiento de Mujeres Unidas, Diversas y Empoderadas (Colombia): MUDE organizes a community of cis and trans women and their children. Through their program TRANSformanfo realidades [TRANS-forming realities], they have designed a safe space for the exchange of trans experiences and tools for the enforceability of rights. In recent months they launched their first Afrofeminist and Antiracist School as well as healing circles for all women.
  • The Foundation of Transgender Alliance for Human Rights (Thailand): Thai Transgender Alliance, or Thai TGA, supports transgender and gender diverse people in Thailand to have a better quality of life and works to advance the human rights of transgender people through policy advocacy, research, public education, network building and media advocacy strategies. In the past five years, they have led a national effort to secure legal gender recognition for trans people in Thailand. Recently they underwent a consultative process with trans, non-binary and intersex people in Thailand in order to advocate for the introduction of the Gender Recognition Bill. They have prepared a draft bill as well as a policy brief from the consultations.
  • inTRANSitive (Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.): inTRANSitive’s mission is to improve the lives of Trans Arkansans through education, organizing and celebrating their resilience. They are the only Trans migrant-led organization in the state. Their work focuses on anti-violence, immigration, and community building. Their anti-violence work focuses on providing education to direct service organizations on how to serve Trans survivors and helps to hold these organizations accountable as they implement anti-violence practices. They also provide support to Trans survivors escaping violent situations and host community events to incorporate education around healthy relationships.
  • TransWave Jamaica (Jamaica): TransWave Jamaica is led by trans people working to advance the health, welfare and well-being of the transgender and gender non-conforming community in Jamaica and in the Caribbean. Founded in 2015, Transwave Jamaica started as an advocacy initiative in the form of a blog. Their mission has developed to promote change which results in the social inclusivity, recognition of rights, and legal protection of the transgender and gender non-conforming community. In February 2023, they hosted a trans health and wellness symposium. Recent publications include the Human Rights Violation Report and the Case for Gender Recognition Legislation in Jamaica.

Today and every day, Astraea is proud to support and celebrate trans-led organizations, trans activists, trans communities, and trans resilience.

This Trans Day of Visibility (TDoV), we are proud to have collaborated with artist, Acacia Rodriguez, to create this brilliant illustration. Acacia can be found at IG: @BBKashe & AcaciaRodriguez.com

Honoring Black Communities, Grantees, and Thought Leaders

As February ends and we wrap up Black History Month, we want to take a moment to honor and uplift Black leadership and Black communities across the U.S. and around the world. We also want to acknowledge that one month is never enough and is not representative of the profound impact that Black organizing has on our collective liberation. 

Astraea was founded on the principles of intersectionality. Today, Black LGBTQI+ movements continue to organize under dangerous and violent conditions but continue to fight structural barriers. We are honored to be grounded in our imperative to identify and resource radical movement leaders pursuing freedom and equality.  

As an institution, we remain committed to our anti-racist journey. It is our commitment to center Black leadership not only in our grantmaking but in how we operate internally and how we advocate in philanthropic spaces. 

This month we celebrated the work of six incredible grantees and activists. Check out some highlights below and follow the links to learn more about our grantee partners leading this incredible work. 

This is, of course, only a small sample of leaders on whose shoulders we stand. 

  • Achebe PowellWe are deeply saddened to share that one of our founding mothers, Achebe Powell, passed away this month. Achebe was a Black, lesbian, feminist, social justice activist, educator, and friend. Achebe was among the small group of multi-racial, multi-class, feminist activists who came together in 1977 to create a new way of bringing resources to movements led by lesbians and women of color, to, in her words, “generate the justice that our communities need, right here, right now.”
  • ZAMI NOBLA (National Organization of Lesbians on Aging) is a Black-led and founded organization, deeply rooted in Atlanta, Georgia. Their programming and campaigns highlight the unique intersections of being Black, elder, and disabled. 
  • House of Tulip is one of our many incredible grantee partners doing vital community-building work. They provide zero-barrier housing, case management, linkage to care, and community programming to trans and gender non-conforming people in need of a safe place to stay while growing the supply of affordable housing in New Orleans. Beyond this, members of HoT staff also created the TGNC Peoples COVID Crisis Fund of Louisiana to help trans and gender non-conforming people in Louisiana pay for food, medication and housing during the pandemic.
  • Baltimore Save Haven (BSH) is a Black trans, former sex worker, and LGBTQ- led organization that focuses on supporting the trans community, specifically those who are low-income and poor, engage in sex work, substance use, and currently face housing insecurity. They believe that every trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (TLGBQ) person should be able to live healthy, self-determined, and self-sufficient lives free from stigma, violence, and oppression. They achieve this by providing compassionate harm reduction and upward mobility services, advocacy, and community engagement that is respectful, non-judgmental, and affirms and honors individual power and agency. 

Black history is very much a part of our present. Which is why we are honored to be partnered with these incredible Black-led organizations who are continuously leading in our shared pursuit of justice and equality. Each of these grantees continues to create a lasting impact on our movement spaces and communities. We hope that you will join us in recognizing and supporting their work.

We Exist in Multitudes: Uplifting Intersex Movements in 2022

Every year on Intersex Awareness Day (October 26th), Astraea Foundation takes time to celebrate our grantee partners from around the world. At Astraea, we know that intersex people have no borders and exist in multitudes, but these vast experiences often go unrecognized or underrecognized. 

Image Credit: Aude Nasr / @ahlan.my.darlings


Every year on Intersex Awareness Day (October 26th), Astraea Foundation takes time to celebrate our grantee partners from around the world. At Astraea, we know that intersex people have no borders and exist in multitudes, but these vast experiences often go unrecognized or underrecognized. 

2022 marks the 8th annual cycle of Astraea’s grantmaking with the Intersex Human Rights Fund (IHRF). This year, we are celebrating the diverse beauty within intersex movements and the progress they have made in securing justice, while also reflecting on serious challenges intersex people experienced in many regions. 

Through the IHRF, Astraea responds to significant gaps in philanthropic funding for intersex movements by resourcing activism, building the capacity, raising visibility, and driving resources to intersex groups.

The IHRF’s eighth round of grantmaking totaled $522,000 in grants in 2022. Since IHRF seeks proposals from intersex activists who have never applied for a grant or received foundation funding before, it allows us to expand our reach to more and more corners of the world where the potential for intersex activism has yet to be tapped and connected to a global movement. IHRF now supports intersex movements in a quarter of the world’s countries, as the funding went to 56 groups, including 11 new and 45 renewals in 47 countries. During this funding cycle, we expanded our reach to Tunisia, the Dominican Republic and Indonesia, for the first time.

We have seen great strides and challenges from our grantee partners, leading campaigns to challenge social norms, change policy, and actualize inclusion, for example: 

  • Intersex Persons Society of Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya) began in 2016 to provide support, create awareness and gather data to establish the identifiable presence of intersex persons in Kenya. They succeeded in having the “intersex” category included in the national census in August 2019. And this year, Kenya became the first African country to require intersex children to be treated with dignity and have equal access to essential services like medical treatment and education.
  • IntersexualesChile (Chile) was founded in 2016 with the main goal to support intersex people, as well as supporting families in making decisions regarding health, life, and well-being. IntersexualesChile believes that corrective and aesthetic surgeries only end up hurting a person physically, psychologically and socially. In addition to directly helping families, the organization works to ensure that Chile complies with legal stipulations that genital surgery cannot be performed on intersex babies. 
  • Intersex Greece (Cyclades, Greece) is an inclusive, national organization for intersex people living in Greece, no matter their nationality, economic status or any other diversity. They aim to create awareness and inclusion for intersex people and advocate for legal protections. We at IHRF are celebrating a major win in 2022 as the country banned cosmetic (non-medically necessary) genital surgeries on intersex children. 
  • Damino (Tunisia) began in September 2021 amid challenges and discrimination against intersex individuals. It is difficult to be an intersex person in Tunisia and to connect with other intersex individuals, so the group became a safe space for intersex activists. They are considered to be a pioneer in their field, as they are the first group that focuses primarily on intersex rights in Tunisia. They are working to stop the violations and crimes against intersex babies through enacting new laws. 

Please join us in celebrating all our incredible 2022 Intersex Human Rights Fund (IHRF) grantee partners building towards more inclusive and just futures for intersex people, and for us all!

This Intersex Awareness Day, we are excited to have collaborated with Aude Nasr, a French-Lebanese freelance illustrator and photographer currently based in Marseille, France. To learn more about Aude and her work, please visit her website and Instagram.


2022 Intersex Human Rights Fund Grantee Partners*

*Note: We do not publicize a number of our courageous grantee partners because of security threats they face in their local contexts, so organizations may be missing from this list.


African Intersex Movement 


Argentina Intersex 


Associação Brasileira de Intersexos (ABRAI) 


Asociación Peruana de Personas Intersexuales 


Bilitis Resource Center Bulgaria  


Brújula Intersexual  


Campaign for Change 


Círculo Violeta 

Puerto Rico

Collectif Intersexe Activiste – OII France (CIA-OII France) 


Comunidad De Lesbianas Inclusivas Dominicanas (COLESDOM) 

Dominican Republic



Egalite Intersex Ukraine


Fundacja Interakcja  


Groupe Intersexe Désirs / Inter-Désirs

Democratic Republic of the Congo

iCon UK

United Kingdom

InterAction – Association Suisse pour les Intersexes 


Intersex Advocate Trust Zimbabwe 


Intersex Asia Network 

Regional / Taiwan

Intersex Canada 


Intersex Community of Zimbabwe 


Intersex Denmark


Intersex Greece 


Intersex Human Rights Australia 


Intersex Ísland – félag intersex fólks á Íslandi 


Intersex People’s Human Rights – ISIO Finland 


Intersex Persons Society of Kenya


Intersex Philippines 


Intersex Society of Zambia


Intersex South Africa 

South Africa

Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ)  

New Zealand

Intersex Turkey










Intrepida Foundation

United States

IVIM OII Germany


Ivy Foundation


Key Watch Ghana 





Costa Rica

Organization Intersex International-Chinese (Oii-Chinese)


Organization Intersex International Europe (OII Europe) 

Regional / Germany

OII Sverige 


Potencia intersex 


Rede Jacob – Apoio a Familia e Pessoa Intersexo


Roma Women of Vojvodina 


Tanzania Voice of Humanity 


Trans Smart Trust 


Verein Intersexuelle Menschen Österreich (VIMÖ)  


Vivir y Ser Intersex


XY Spectrum 


To Be Bi And Femme: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

In recognition of Bi Visibility Day, Rebecca Fox, Astraea’s Vice President of Programs, shares a personal reflection celebrating bi visibility, transcending binaries, upending expectations, and embracing fluidity.

For this year’s Bi Visibility Day, Joy Chia, Astraea’s Executive Director, asked me to write a piece on what bi visibility means to me. Unlike most of my writing projects, where I marinate for a few days and then I can easily write it, this assignment had me stuck. I’ve been bi since my first girl crush in 1999. Before queer was common parlance and reclaimed proudly, bi was what felt right to me. I liked boys, I liked girls, and I had yet to meet people who identify as gender non-conforming. I quickly realized that bisexuality isn’t simple and that being constantly asked, “Are you really bi?” or “Are you dating a man, or woman or GNC person now?” is draining.

Through my coming out process, I figured out not only my sexual orientation, but also my gender. I’m high femme. For me, that means wearing clothes, jewelry, make-up and reclaiming physical trappings of femininity. The overlap of these two identities quickly left me with not more visibility, but with a kind of double invisibility. I quickly realized that “who I was” to others was being defined by who I was dating. It has taken me many years and a lot of support from my femme community – trans and cis – to push aside the bullshit and stand as myself.

Our movements are working to transcend binaries and break down these rigid boxes. but we continue to live in a world where who we are, and what rights are accorded us, is defined by litmus tests set by other people. We are asked to contort ourselves, shrink parts of ourselves, bend uncomfortably, just to be seen as being part of ill-fitting spaces. At Astraea, we fund organizations and movements that are breaking those binaries, that are helping people be seen as they are versus how others define them. Our grantee partners do this by changing the narrative, building power, and challenging normative assumptions.

Both the joy and challenge of feeling free to live outside of the boxes that people put us in is that we get to define who we are. We get to upend expectations and embrace fluidity. We get to choose what is important to us, choose our kin, and choose how we live our lives. Yet, it’s also a lot easier for us as humans to fall into the habit of using boxes (for ourselves and others). It’s easier to define ourselves by what we are opposed to, rather than what we stand for and who we are.

Bi visibility means celebrating my queerness, my bi-ness, my femme-ness, regardless of who I am in love with or in bed with. Bi visibility matters to me, not only because it’s how I see myself, but also because it’s how I want to be seen. Not just parts of me, but all of me.

In solidarity,
Rebecca Fox
Vice President of Programs

Kerry-Jo’s August 2022 Reflection: Rest and Reimagination

Kerry-Jo reflects on her time at Astraea, rest, renewal, and reimagining, “a world where we can all thrive and the work we do to create that world is like planting trees under whose shade we may never sit.”

Dear Friends,

If I’m to be completely honest (and vulnerable), this reflection has not been an easy one to write. After seven years, I have decided it’s time to leave Astraea Foundation and my role as Deputy Executive Director.

At the very core of all that I am proud to have achieved at Astraea — and even the choice I have made to leave – is this: reimagination. The audacity to believe that we could build a partnership with governments without compromising our values and integrity, the seismic shifts in our operations and culture, and a deepened investment in our people. Looking back, I’m sure I couldn’t have even imagined what we would do together so many years ago.

In truth, reimagination has been at the very foundation of Astraea. Our Founding Mothers had to envision a world where feminists, lesbians, queer folks of color would dare to raise the resources we needed to support each other, to trust each other, and to believe that we could indeed make the world a more just place for us to thrive. 

45 years later, Astraea is still committed to that world. In all my roles — as a staff member, executive leader, space-holder, Black queer immigrant cis-woman — I have borne witness to an organization grappling with how to remain accountable to and aligned with its feminist values, staff, peers, grantee partners, and to the LGBTQI movements that we serve. 

The work we do is hard, uncomfortable and, at times, messy. How could it not be if what we aim to do is step outside of systems and ways of being that no longer serve us? You see, reimagination isn’t always about rainbows and unicorns — to do it well also involves having the most difficult conversations, holding curiosity, grief, sadness, and anger as we release what we have been in service of what we could be and emerge on the other side renewed. 

This is the cycle of reimagination and, as I move towards my own sabbatical of rest and renewal, I know that the Astraea I leave today is far sturdier than the one I joined in 2015. Over the last few months especially, I sense a new horizon of hope that — while tenuous and precious — comes with dreaming about what might now be possible for Astraea and each of us finding our own place in that possibility. We are finding courage in our vulnerability, balance in our boundaries, and learning how to meaningfully build community across distance and difference.

There is much more to be done to get to where we want to be, but the path Astraea is charting to do it is more sure-footed, strategic, and overall stronger. I’m truly excited about what’s yet to come.

And so, I’d like to thank all our staff (past and present), grantee partners and supporters for sharing in my last reflection, and I hope if you remember nothing else, it is this: we are imagining a world where we can all thrive and the work we do to create that world is like planting trees under whose shade we may never sit. 

Until we meet again,
Kerry-Jo Ford Lyn

Deputy Executive Director

Building Our Movements for Trans and Intersex Rights in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific

Through participatory grantmaking, capacity building, regional networking, and international advocacy, Building our Movements aims to scale up the capacity of African, Asian and Pacific human rights defenders to address the rights violations faced by intersex and trans communities in these regions.

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, intersex and trans movements are experiencing tremendous growth as they seize political and advocacy opportunities. Yet, their progress is hindered by major resource gaps which slow down capacity building, and contribute to a general lack of visibility within the broader LGBTQI movement of the regions. 

In 2019, the European Union, in line with its values of cultural diversity, tolerance, and individual freedoms, made funds available to support the creation of Building our Movements, a collective and intermediary fund made up of transnational organizations, including: 

Through participatory grantmaking, capacity building, regional networking, and international advocacy, Building our Movements aims to scale up the capacity of African, Asian and Pacific human rights defenders to address the rights violations faced by intersex and trans communities in these regions. The group also brings communities together across borders to strengthen the flourishing movements on the ground.

What has Building our Movements achieved since it began in 2019? 

Within two short years, in the midst of a global pandemic, the collective has increased organizational capacity to address trans and intersex issues in the three regions. For example, Trans Fund grantees reported: 

  • 63% had increased capacities;
  • 48% increased their capacity to budget and manage their finances; 
  • 44% increased their capacity to develop and implement program strategy; and 
  • 42% increased their capacity to keep themselves safe and secure.

Bolstered advocacy for intersex and trans rights at the local, national, regional, and global level. For example:

  • The president of Kenya appointed the first openly intersex government commissioner, which has exciting implications for intersex persons on many fronts. A grantee of SIPD has played a big role in this gain. 
  • ILGA led the way for 53 UN member states to call for concrete measures to combat harmful practices, violence, and discrimination against intersex persons.

Increased networking opportunities at the regional level, which created space for exchanging best practices on promoting and protecting trans and intersex rights. For example: 

  • APTN rolled out the first framework for collecting data and reporting frameworks on transphobic hate crimes in Asia and Pacific regions, working closely at the regional level.
  • Helped build a global norm about the promotion and protection of intersex and trans human rights and better national implementation of their provisions, through UN side events sponsored by 23+ Member States 

Despite the countless challenges posed by the pandemic these past two years, Building our Movements has made tremendous progress in affirming trans and intersex groups’ rights from the local to international stage. Building our Movements is grateful to the European Union’s support and invites all donors to join us in committing new and increased resources to these powerful, but under-resourced movements fighting for their rights.

Creating Robust Ecosystems: Our 2021 Annual Report is Here!

We are pleased to share with you our 2021 Annual Report, Sustaining Movements, Queering Philanthropy, which illustrates the impact of Astraea’s bold commitment to move resources to support LGBTQI organizations on the frontlines. 

What does it take to create sustainable ecosystems of queer movements, especially in the age of multiple global crises and pandemics? At Astraea, we believe philanthropy should be a steadfast source of support, willing to walk alongside movements to better understand what resources they need in order to redistribute power and achieve lasting social change. 

Every year, we take a moment to reflect on our own roots, refine our mandate, and strategize on how to strengthen the field of philanthropy for the LGTBQI movements we support. We are pleased to share with you our 2021 Annual Report, Sustaining Movements, Queering Philanthropy, which illustrates the impact of Astraea’s bold commitment to move resources to support LGBTQI organizations on the frontlines. 

This year’s report is inspired by mangrove trees and the systems that they nurture and connect. The mangrove stands as a metaphor for our work to build bridges and create enabling environments across philanthropy and movements.

Our movements, fueled by our grantee partners, build power in a myriad of creative, dynamic ways which come together to form robust organizing ecosystems at both the local and international level. From providing critical healing justice resources, to tirelessly advocating for legal rights and implementation–our partners are constantly working to create brighter, stronger futures for ALL our people, everywhere.

Astraea knows that our grantee partners need consistent and flexible resources over multiple years to secure change that positively impacts the lives of LGBTQI communities worldwide. 

In 2021, Astraea redistributed: 

  • More than $5.1 million USD to more than 240 organizations;
  • 70% of our international grants to organizations in the Global South and East;
  • The majority of international funding to countries with obstructed, repressed and closing civil societies; and
  • 36% of our funding to support trans and gender non-conforming organizing.

We have profound appreciation for our grantees, supporters, donors, allies, and staff members, who deeply understand the urgent need to strengthen the very foundation we stand on amidst the threat of exclusion and repression. 

We hope that our 2021 Annual Report demonstrates how every dollar and person in our network contributes to our ecosystem’s growth and power. 

We Honor the History of Juneteenth

This Juneteenth, we highlight one of our Black-led grantee partner organizations, NQTTCN, working for healing justice across the United States. We are proud to fund this vital organization working for mental health and wellness in a country with a long, ongoing legacy of traumatic violence against Black people.

This Sunday (June 19) marks the 157th anniversary of the day enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, were finally told they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation declared it so. The following year, Juneteenth began as a celebration for and by Black Texans to commemorate this day.

Celebrations spread to other Black communities across the United States and last year, Juneteenth became a federal holiday. As the societal consciousness shifts with this new designation, we at Astraea honor Juneteenth’s historical roots as a Black celebration of emancipation and freedom. We acknowledge the work needed to eraticate anti-Black racism and abolish all slavery and forced labor, including mass incarceration and human trafficking.

Today, we highlight one of our Black-led grantee partner organizations working for healing justice across the United States. We are proud to fund this vital organization working for mental health and wellness in a country with a long, ongoing legacy of traumatic violence against Black people.

The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN ) is a healing justice organization working to transform mental health for queer and trans people of color in North America. They are working toward a world where all people have access to healing resources rooted in social justice and liberation to recover from trauma, violence, and systemic oppression. They build the capacity of queer and trans mental health practitioners of color, increase access to healing justice resources, and provide technical assistance to social justice movement organizations to integrate healing justice into their work.

As we honor Juneteenth and Pride this month, we remind our community that both of these celebrations are part of a greater pursuit of liberation for Black and LGBTQI people. To quote Fannie Lou Hamer, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” As we celebrate our 45th birthday this year, Astraea remains committed to combating anti-Black racism and championing human rights for all.

Learn how to support The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network at nqttcn.com.

In solidarity,
The Astraea Team

May 2022 Reflection: May Her Memory Be For a Revolution this #IDAHOBIT

Today, as we honor IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia), Urvashi Vaid’s life and work is a clarion call for how to proceed. She pushed for rights and policies, but never took her vision off our collective liberation.

As I sat down to write this piece, I found out Urvashi Vaid had died. Urv, as she was universally known, was a force beyond nature. She was the first woman of color to lead the National LGBT Task Force, a founder of Lesbian Political Action Committee (LPAC) and the author of Virtual Equality and Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class, and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics. When the public face of the gay and lesbian (as it was then known) movement was universally white, gender conforming, and male, she was brown, visibly queer, and proudly lesbian. She was loud and uncompromising. Her relationship with Kate Clinton was the stuff of legend: two powerful women in love, each leaders in their field, and a visible exemplar of tangible support and love.

But beyond her resume and numerous accolades, she was the person who told you that you were messing up (never in that gentle of language). She told you in the toughest and kindest way possible that you needed to be doing more. As news of her death spread, texts and conversations with friends and my partner all had the same theme: “She told me to do more on this issue I was scared to work on and she was right.” She pushed each of us, not on assimilation and whitewashing, but on trans rights, homelessness, criminal justice, and economic inequality. It was an honor when she told you to step up: that the movement needed you, that you needed you, that she needed you to. Her words were always spoken with love and a belief in the world that you could be a part of creating.

Today, as we honor IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia), Urv’s life and work is a clarion call for how to proceed. She pushed for rights and policies, but never took her vision off our collective liberation. As the LGBT movement in the United States professionalized, she never changed who she was or what she believed to fit in. She talked about sex and sexuality, she talked about race and class, and she pushed us to recognize how misogyny pervaded the present day movement.

We stand at a moment where so much that Urv fought for is being threatened. May 17 was specifically chosen as IDAHOBIT to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Yet, today, we see conservative actors around the world fanning the fires of fear by vilifying those who live beyond strict and harmful stereotypes of gender and sexuality. Eroding reproductive rights, curtailing racial justice, erasing LGBTQI histories, and scapegoating LGBTQI youth – the anti-rights political project to regulate and control our bodies, our lives and our futures is clear. But so is our work to create a world where everyone belongs. 

In my last call with Urv, I told her I was leaving my job to become Vice President of Programs at Astraea. She paused and said “We need Astraea. I’m glad you took this job, do good work and don’t fuck it up.” I was a little flustered, a little flattered, and mostly just wanted to keep her respect. I promised her I wouldn’t. 

In Judaism, social justice Jews have taken the traditional mourning phrase of “May her memory be for a blessing” and made it into “May her memory be for a revolution.” Urv’s life and memory already are.

In solidarity,
Rebecca Fox
VP of Programs