Astraea Supports Publication of Black Lesbians Matter

Astraea grantee partner, Zuna Institute, published the needs assessment report Black Lesbians Matter this week, revealing that Black lesbian visibility is an essential element in the political and economic landscape and providing a glimpse into the lives of an often-overlooked group.

The report, which surveyed Black lesbians across the U.S. aged 18-70, was authored by Zuna Institute Executive Director Francine Ramsey; Gay Men’s Health Crisis CEO Dr. Marjorie J. Hill; and Cassondra Kellam, a PhD candidate at City University of New York Graduate Center.

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Sacramento, CA (July 27, 2010) – Zuna Institute announces the release of the Black Lesbian needs assessment report, Black Lesbians Matter. Authored by Francine Ramsey, Zuna Institute’s Executive Director; Dr. Marjorie J. Hill, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Chief Executive Officer; and Cassondra Kellam, PhD Student, Graduate Center, CUNY, this report examines the unique experiences, perspectives, and priorities of the Black Lesbian community.

The “Black Lesbians Matter” report, the result of a quantitative study, is akin to a Black Lesbian “census.” Regional, statewide, and local organizations that support Black LGBTQ asked Black lesbians to speak up and be heard, to stand up and be counted; 1,596 Black lesbians answered that call by participating in focus groups and through an on-line survey.

Francine Ramsey, Executive Director of Zuna Institute says, ”This report is the result of a year long process, and will lay the foundation for constructive dialog and the creation of an effective collection of strategies that will address the needs of the Black Lesbian community.”.

Brenda Crawford, co-founder of Zuna Institute quotes Rebecca Lee, “For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood the property of all women.”

Vallerie D. Wagner says, “This report accentuates the importance of using our voices to define us for ourselves.  It is our opportunity to speak and have our voices heard and acknowledged; our issues and concerns validated and defined in our own words.  We must continue to find and use our voices, for to remain silent is no longer an option.”

This study was funded by a generous grant from the Arcus Foundation, with additional support from the Gill Foundation and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. The “Black Lesbians Matter” report is available for download at

Zuna Institute is a national advocacy organization for Black Lesbians that addresses such issues as health, economic development, education, and public policy. Zuna Institute brings about visibility and empowerment to the Black Lesbian community, and strives to eliminate barriers that are deeply rooted in public policies that encourage homophobia, economic and educational injustices, and other forms of social discrimination.


Download Executive Summary

Download Full Report