On the U.S. Trans Military Ban

Astraea condemns the Supreme Court’s recent decision to stay injunctions in recent trans military ban cases, effectively banning trans people from serving in the military.

Astraea condemns the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stay injunctions in recent trans military ban cases, effectively banning trans people from serving in the military. We deplore this stance, as its function is to dehumanize trans people and deny them a key avenue of access to resources like healthcare and education. Like many other tactics deployed by the current administration, we see this action for what it is–an effort to pretend to “protect” an invisible electorate from an imaginary enemy.

At the same time, Astraea strives for the demilitarization of the state and dismantling of mechanisms that force people to participate in the military industrial complex in order to access vital resources. We hold these contradictions because it is our responsibility to, and we vow to continue supporting work that does not shy away from paradoxes or nuances, but that seeks solutions that free us from all forms of oppression.

Learn more about the Supreme Court’s decision via the links below:

Astraea 2019 New Year’s Celebration

Astraea is opening its offices for a New Year’s Celebration!

Astraea is opening its offices for a New Year’s Celebration! Join us on January 16th at 6PM to enjoy food, drinks, art, and community. Our New Year’s Celebration will uplift brilliant artists who are creating a new world in the new year through their art and resistance.

Global Arts Fund recipients Yaneris Gonzáles Gómez and Kiyan Williams will share their experiences as LGBTQI artists creating meaningful representation and the importance of art as tool for resistance. The night will also feature visual works from Beldan Sezen and Las Nietas de Nonó.

Bring your resolutions for the revolution, RSVP online and join us at our offices on January 16th at 6PM!

For more information, contact Sally Troncoso at stroncoso@astraeafoundation.org or call 212.810.4155.


Trans Day of Remembrance 2018

Today and everyday we remember the legacy of our trans ancestors as we continue to fight for the rights and autonomy of trans, non-binary and GNC people.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of Rita Hester, a young Black trans woman from the U.S. whose life was taken in an act of anti-transgender violence. Her death led to the creation of Trans Day of Remembrance by trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith. On this day, two decades after Rita’s life was taken, we honor her and all the trans people that came before us. It is vital that we connect the murder of Rita Hester to the violence that trans people, especially trans people of color, continue to face. Transrespect recently reported there were 369 cases of reported killings of transgender people worldwide in the past year. Each trans person we lose to violence is an individual with their own colorful life story of resilience and joy.

Despite this violence, our trans ancestors showed resilience and strength. They paved the way for our grantee partners all over the world who are advocating for trans rights in their respective regions, and working towards a world where we are free from this violence. Today and everyday we remember the legacy of our trans ancestors as we continue to fight for the rights and autonomy of trans, non-binary and GNC people. Our existence is resistance.

Find a TDOR event near you:

Trans Day of Remembrance Resources & Links:

Meet our Intersex Human Rights Fund grantee partners

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our grantee partners have been instrumental in:

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

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

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

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

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




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

Intersex Activist Tatenda Ngwaru on Intersex Awareness Day

Intersex activist and Astraea Grants Management Associate Tatenda Ngwaru shares why Intersex Awareness Day is important to her.

“We are here and we’re not going anywhere.”

Astraea’s Grants Management Associate Tate Ngwaru is an intersex activist from Zimbabwe. In anticipation of Intersex Awareness Day on October 26th, listen as she shares why the day is meaningful to her.

Learn more about Tatenda.


Video transcript:

My name is Tatenda Ngwaru. I’m an intersex activist. I’m originally from Zimbabwe, but now based here in New York as an asylum seeker and I work as a Grants Management Associate here at Astraea Foundation.

People have to know that the intersex community is very stigmatized. It’s supposed to be shameful, it’s a taboo, we’re not regarded as people. So, for me to be able to say “Happy Intersex Awareness Day,” and to know that there’s a day that is dedicated to that makes me feel proud, and I think it is also a day that we want to reflect on the challenges that affect the intersex community and how much more work there is to be done.

It is a nice thing for intersex people to know that they really do have a day, that people allow them to say, “We are here, and we’re not going anywhere.” As an intersex activist, as a Black woman, as a woman, I want to say, from me to you: all love.

We exist!

Astraea’s statement on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services memo released by the New York Times on October 21, 2018.

Trans people are not an aberration.
Intersex people exist.
Non-binary folks will not be silenced.
We will not be legislated out of existence.  

The identities, bodies, and lived experiences of trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex people are not up for debate or political opinion. They are a fundamental part of our lives and our liberation. ALL people are entitled to the protection of basic human rights; to live and thrive without having our bodies and existence threatened and questioned.

The recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services memo tries to establish a retrograde definition of “sex” as unchangeable and either “male” or “female”. It is an attempted erasure of the very existence of trans and non-binary people, and intersex people whose sex characteristics do not neatly align as “male” or “female.” The very fact of it incites intolerance and hate crimes towards those who are different and threatens their access to employment, housing, education, and healthcare. It is an attempt to create ideological schisms and use the double speak of “irrefutable” science while cutting all funding to and otherwise undermining actual science and lived experience, leaving those who are already marginalized even more vulnerable.

In the United States and around the world, the right-wing ‘gender ideology’ campaign has deliberately misrepresented queer and feminist politics in order to justify discrimination against LGBTQI people.Right-wing fundamentalists and populist leaders are using thiscoded doublespeak, alongside white supremacist rhetoric, to delegitimize populations’ right to equal protections under the law, to public resources, and social policies. This is a strategic maneuver to grab power, money, and natural resources at the expense, demise and criminalization of trans, intersex and gender non-conforming people, women and people of color. It is a red flag far beyond our community. They are banking on gender panic to mobilize a culture war to disguise their populist takeover. They would have us believe that we do not belong nor should we exist.

But we exist. We have always existed.

As feminist funders, Astraea grounds ourselves in a political identity that demands inclusivity, challenges oppressive norms, and centers those who are most marginalized, and most at risk. We exist to shift power and resources to those who are literally fighting for their lives. We will not stop.

Fascism is not slowing down, and neither are we. We are protesting from Washington Square Park, NY to D.C. We are registering to vote in numbers. We are defending one another physically, emotionally, and financially by turning our anger into action, by showing up and resisting colonial cisnormativity and heteronormativity, patriarchal forces that would have us erased.

Will you stand with us on the right side of history and build a safe, loving and life affirming future for all people? Do what you can do in this moment.

We exist! Stand up. Show up. Fight Back. Win.

Some ways to get involved:

  • Take action to support the rights and protections of trans and GNC people, using this essential checklist compiled by Chase Strangio of the ACLU
  • For cisgender allies, prioritize the wellbeing of trans communities by educating yourselves, speaking out, and checking in
  • Read, share, and learn about ways to ‘Queer the Vote’ ahead of the midterm elections in them.’s powerful, interactive guide for queer voters
  • Resource and fund grassroots organizations led by trans, gender non-conforming, intersex and queer people, and people of color by supporting the grantee partners of the Astraea Foundation



In solidarity,

J. Bob Alotta
Executive Director

State of Funding for LBQ Movements: Global Activist Survey

Astraea and Mama Cash are pleased to launch the State of Funding for LBQ Movements global survey, available in English, Spanish, French and Russian.

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and Mama Cash are pleased to launch the State of Funding for LBQ Movements global survey, available in English, Spanish, French, and Russian! There is very little information available on the funding priorities, needs, and challenges of LBQ groups, organizations, and networks. Participation in this survey will help us generate this data and allow us to make the case for more and better resourcing for LBQ communities.

As long as LBQ activists make up at least 50% of the leadership of your group, organization, or network, your group can participate! Your group can work specifically with LBQ communities or on LBQ issues, or it can work more broadly on other human rights issues. Your group can also participate if it is unregistered or informal. Please share this survey with your peers and partners that also meet this criteria, as it is an invaluable opportunity to generate data and analysis which can be used to advocate for improved funding to LBQ movements.

The survey is anonymous and will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

Astraea and Mama Cash are collaborating with Feminist Solutions towards Global Justice (FemJust) on this survey. If you require assistance to complete the survey, please contact Linda Saleh at linda@femjust.com

A note on terminology: We recognize that language is limited, gender exists on a continuum, and that labels oftentimes cannot adequately describe LBQ people’s work and communities. Through a consultative process with activists over a yearlong period, we have chosen to use the term “LBQ.” This refers to the focus on sexual identity; it includes all women (cis and trans) and all non-binary people on the gender spectrum who relate to a lesbian, bisexual, and/or queer identity.

Please take the survey by November 16, 2018!

Available in:

Meet our Jeanne Córdova Fund grantee partners!

We are delighted to announce this year’s Jeanne Córdova Fund grantee partners.

Pictured (L to R): Aireana (Paraguay) and Forum for the Empowerment of Women (South Africa)

We are delighted to announce this year’s Jeanne Córdova Fund grantee partners.

This year, Astraea’s Jeanne Córdova Fund awarded $130,000 in grants to 10 visionary grassroots organizations across Latin America and Southern Africa dedicated to sustaining lesbian and queer feminist movements. These groups are furthering intersectional, intergenerational movement-building, creating new forms of resistance, building power, developing cultural activism among lesbian, butch, feminist, and gender nonconforming communities and imagining new futures into being. Grantee partners are centering black, indigenous, and working-class voices, and following lesbian and queer feminist principles, which emphasize the importance of cross-issue organizing and collaboration. Organizations are:

  • Responding creatively to violence and threats against LGBTI+ communities: In Ecuador, Mujer y Mujer organized a self-care retreat this year, convening 11 LGBTI+ activists from 4 different regions to recharge and reflect on their strategies and activism against increased attacks from conservative and religious movements.
  • Providing critical safe spaces for resistance and the production of feminist cultural content: In Paraguay, Aireanas vibrant cultural community center, “La Serafina,” provides a unique space for merging theater, cultural activism, and political education aimed at challenging stereotypical gender roles and supporting the leadership of LBQ communities.
  • Developing rights literacy, advocacy, and communications training: In Zimbabwe, PaKasipiti will host an LBT advocacy symposium that will serve as a forum for growing activism and address the demands of national and regional LGBTQ and feminist coalitions.
  • Creating sustainable LGBTQI networks and alliances: In South Africa, Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) has developed the Rainbow Activist Alliance (RAA), a network of 15 community-based LGBTI organizations across the country that work collectively to secure greater access to public health care, reform discriminatory policies within the criminal justice system, and build black lesbian leadership.

Before she passed away in 2016, Jeanne Córdova announced that her estate would donate $2 million over 10 years to Astraea to help sustain the very movements that supported her as a young Chicana-lesbian activist. Through the Jeanne Córdova Fund, she created decades of possibility for Astraea, for our movements, and for our people. Please join us in celebrating the work of these powerful grantee partners and read more about their work in the links below.

Aireana – Grupo por los Derechos de las Lesbianas // Colectivo No Tengo Miedo // Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) // Fundación de Desarrollo Humano Integral CAUSANA // GLEFAS- Grupo Latinoamericano De Estudios, Formacion Y Accion Feminista // Lesbianas Independientes Feministas y Socialistas (LIFS) // Limpopo LGBTI Proudly Out // Mujer y Mujer // Mujeres Al Borde // PaKaspiti Zimbabwe

P.S. Join us in supporting LGBTQI activism all over the world by donating or following us on social media!


Why We Fund: Healing Justice

Astraea is thrilled to have two staff members from grantee partner Audre Lorde Project joining us as part of our Why We Fund event series.

We are thrilled to be in conversation with Tasha Amezcua and Simone Sobers of the Audre Lorde Project! Join us for this luncheon at Astraea’s office in NYC for a conversation with Tasha and Simone about the framework of healing justice and its practice within political strategies and movements that intervene on inter-generational trauma and state and institutional violence. Tasha and Simone will share how the Audre Lorde Project centers healing justice within their political strategies, and inside their local campaigns for community-led and determined safety and healing.

Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP, please email zlord@astraeafoundation.org

Astraea is growing!

Our team continues to grow and reflect a global feminist diaspora in the leadership of philanthropy.

Our team continues to grow and reflect a global feminist diaspora in the leadership of philanthropy. Irvin Lozano brings his whiz accounting skills to our fiscal team as a Junior Accountant. We’re delighted to have Tatenda Ngwaru, an amazing intersex activist from Zimbabwe, join our program team as the Grants Management Associate. Based in Botswana, the fierce feminist Lame Olebile also joins us as a Program Officer managing grants portfolios in Africa and Asia. This summer, Mihika Srivastava will also bring her strong writing and research skills to Astraea as a Communications Program Associate.

Our team continues to uplift Astraea’s tenets of advocacy; to resource and be thought partners with LGBTQI global movement leadership as we resist and build collective power and liberation.

With deep gratitude,

The Astraea Team

Meet our new staff members

Irvin Lozano, Junior Accountant

Irvin Lozano began his college education pursuing a degree in Biology. With the help of a close friend, he landed a job in finance at a manufacturing company, and over the course of 6 years taught himself the in’s and out’s of basic accounting. [Read more]

Tatenda Ngwaru, Grants Management Associate

Tatenda Ngwaru is a Zimbabwean Intersex Activist now based in New York as an asylum seeker. She ran the first Intersex and Transgender organisation in Zimbabwe for 4 years. She is a motivational speaker and activist advocating for the rights of LGBTQI refugees and Intersex individuals. [Read more]

Lame Olebile, Program Officer – Africa & Asia

Lame Olebile is a Pan-Africanist, queer feminist passionate about social justice. Her experience is in human rights with a strong background in LGBTQI issues and a wealth of experience in the LGBTQI movement. [Read more]

Mihika Srivastava, Communications Program Associate

Mihika is a human rights and gender justice advocate, dedicated to uplifting and amplifying the voices of intersectional feminist communities worldwide. She believes in the distinct power of storytelling to create policy and culture change around gender norms and injustices. [Read more]