Meet our grantee partner, TGIJP

Listen as TGIJP current and former staff share more about their work supporting incarcerated and formerly incarcerated trans and gender nonconforming people.

TGIJP was founded in 2004 with the mission to challenge and end human rights abuses against transgender, gender variant and intersex people, especially transgender women, in California prisons and beyond.

In the video above, TGIJP current and former staff share more about their work supporting incarcerated and formerly incarcerated trans and gender nonconforming people.

Learn more about TGIJP.





Video transcript:

[Miss Major]: My generation has leaped over cars, ran from police, been beaten, stoned, puked, had, thrown underneath the bus, and then told, “What’s your problem? Why can’t you just get over it?”

Well the things that were happening for the transgender women of color at the time that we began was primarily the same thing that’s going on now. That they’re being picked up and harassed for just doing things that involve their daily lives, that they haven’t done anything that warrants them being taken up off the street, abused and beaten and thrown into jail.

And so the purpose of us was to give them a sense of hope, a meaning, to let them know that somebody gave a damn about who they were.

[Janetta Johnson:] The majority of the women that come in for services are formerly incarcerated homeless transgender women. There’s a lot of psychological and emotional abuse. When trans women are basically verbally attacked by the jail staff, it puts trauma on top of the trauma that we already face being trans people.

There’s not a system set up in there to provide adequate, culturally competent medical and mental health.

[Janetta Johnson into megaphone]: “Our incarcerated members know that we’re here and we support them.”

[Miss Major:] The funding from Astraea was a blessing because, you know, nobody wants to deal with anyone in prison, period.

The money that we got gave us an opportunity to take those things that people thought about my community, and change them by educating them, by giving them the opportunity to alter and change their lives to something better.

[Janetta Johnson:] Astraea gave us an opportunity to continue to support our programs. We bring in a bunch of volunteers and we correspond to trans, gender nonconforming folks that are in prison and getting out of prison.

We have a family concept, and you know, Miss Major’s the mother of all of us.

I’m very happy and grateful that I get to lead this organization into the future.

I would like to see TGIJP be able to provide a lot more support

for transgender women that are in prison and be a collective of all Black trans folks taking care of each other and taking care of our community.

[Miss Major:] I went to prison, I lived in the street, I had to struggle. You know.

And once you’ve done that you go, “Oh god, if I can stop some young girl from having to go through this, I gotta do it.” You know.

And you have to reach down and help the next person up.

Meet our grantee partner, Annalise Ophelian!

Grantee partner Annalise Ophelian and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the subject of Ophelian’s documentary, MAJOR!, discuss the film and what it meant to receive support from Astraea.

Today, we are pleased to introduce you to filmmaker and 2015 Global Arts Fund recipient, Annalise Ophelian!

Annalise Ophelian is an award-winning filmmaker and the producer/director of the documentary about Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, MAJOR!. She is a white, queer-identified cis woman, psychologist, and consultant whose work includes Diagnosing Difference (2009).

Miss Major is a formerly incarcerated Black trans elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. She is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, and previously worked as the Executive Director of Astraea grantee partner Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) based in San Francisco.

In the video above, Ophelian and Miss Major discuss MAJOR! and what it meant to receive support from Astraea.

Learn more about Annalise Ophelian and Miss Major.


Video transcript:

[Director, Annalise Ophelian]: As a queer woman, I feel like my life is lived on a path that Miss Major has paved and I hope that being able to document her life in this film is some small part of paying homage to what I think we all as LGBT folks owe our foremothers.

[Trans Activist/Community Leader, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy]: I believe that through this documentary, there is an opportunity for the girls to see we all struggle, you know, and that finally there’s an older transgender person out, proud of who they are, ready to tell you about it.

[Annalise Ophelian]: The Astraea Global Arts Fund was really pivotal in the production of this film. That funding was the difference between having a film and not having a film.

[Miss Major]: One of the things that happened is, through the blessing of Annalise, I got an opportunity to see me, and to take a breath for a minute: “Wow, I’ve been really busy.” Why I have been doing this over 40 years? It’s because it’s needed to be done this whole 40 years.

[Annalise Ophelian]: One of the things that I really love about Astraea is that they don’t just fund, but they’re also so committed to networking. We are really excited to be able to partner with Astraea in terms of just bringing the film to audience.I mean so much of Major’s work is about her personal interaction with community, and the film is a way that Major gets to actually have that connection with folks globally.

[Miss Major]: Astraea helping the film was just great. I mean, because it’s like they appreciate Annalise, and by them appreciating her, it meant that they appreciated me. And how wonderful is that to know that somebody appreciates you?

[Annalise Ophelian]: I think that film has so, so much power to influence people and to change the world.

[Voiceover]: …it will serve as an enduring reminder of our legacy of resilience, of where we are now, and of how far we must move and journey together.


Meet Astraea Donors Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin

Astraea donors Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin share why they choose to #GiveToAstraea.

It’s Giving Tuesday! Today is a day that celebrates the role we all play in philanthropy, justice, and changing the world.

Today, in the spirit of Giving Tuesday and to kick off the giving season, we want you to hear from our long-time donors, Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin. Watch the video above to hear more about why they choose to #GiveToAstraea.

Want to help us fuel the frontlines of LGBTQI justice all around the world? Donate!

Donate Now




Jewelle and Diane were plaintiffs in a lawsuit that overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in the state of California. They were legally married in San Francisco in 2008 after 16 years of partnership. Jewelle and Diane also co-launched Astraea’s Justice Social Program in 2005.

Jewelle Gomez is an award-winning author of seven books, including the double-Lambda-Literary-Award-winning novel The Gilda Stories, an activist, Director of Grants and Community Initiatives for Horizons Foundation, and President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission. Jewelle has been an Astraea supporter since the 1980’s and was one of Astraea’s earliest board members.

Diane Sabin is the Executive Director of the Lesbian Health and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Diane has been an Astraea supporter since the 1990’s and was an Astraea board member in the 2000’s. She was also Astraea’s 2001 Philanthropic Activism Award recipient.


Video transcript:

[Donor and Supporter, Diane Sabin]: One of the amazing things that Astraea has done is bring so many individuals and organizations together for that really rich interchange and learning and new efforts that come out of that and better efforts doing what’s already been done.

[Donor and Supporter, Jewelle Gomez]: I feel a very strong commitment to the politics of feminism and to understanding how history has shaped us both as women and as lesbians and as queer people, and understanding how capitalism has been used against marginalized people. Those are really core values for me and seem to be for Astraea.

Being around Astraea for a long time, I feel really fortunate because it means I get connected to a lot of people who have serious commitment to philanthropy.

Coming off of a very strong feminist movement in the 70’s, there was a lot of political backlash from that. Astraea was trying to meet the needs of women’s organizations and lesbian organizations that had emerged from the feminist movement, but were now not gonna be supported by mainstream foundations and organizations. And Astraea stepped into that with activism through philanthropy.

[Diane Sabin]: My values would be working to create a world that is more just and equal for all. And I think Astraea has, throughout the organization’s existence, been very, very dedicated to that, been exploring what does that mean, and morphing and changing as the times morph and change, delving into new areas of thought, of action, of geography, of gender. Just an amazing organization that puts into real life the value of giving everybody an opportunity to be fully themselves and contribute to the culture in a maximal way.

[Jewelle Gomez]: I believe that liberation is a process. It’s not something we arrive at, and then we’re done. We all must learn to take part in our own liberation and the liberation of others. Over time we can work towards making social justice happen. And it’s not going to happen like overnight suddenly everything is fine. I think it’s important for everyone to learn how to make social justice as a goal part of your everyday, and one of the things that Astraea is able to do is take that intention for social justice and put it into action by supporting organizations that are doing the work that’s the most important. Then that means we’re monitoring how we give and how we behave, and I think that’s what we have to learn to do, not think “Oh I gave and then I’m done, and it’s happened,” but “Oh I gave, and now what do I give today?”

[Diane Sabin]: And I would just ask you to think of yourself as connected to it all, and dig into your pocket. Give some money. Definitely give some time. Definitely tell people about it. And let’s just continue to make a better world. That’s what it’s about.


India Davis

India Davis, a choreographer, trained acrobat, aerialist and pole dancer, combines physical feats with multidisciplinary art forms to illustrate the breadth of her inspirations.

India Davis, a choreographer, trained acrobat, aerialist and pole dancer, combines physical feats with multidisciplinary art forms to illustrate the breadth of her inspirations. Skilled in moving image and writing, her visionary work has been shown both nationwide and internationally and is guided by themes of multi-dimensionality, spirit, and the link between legacy, timelessness and the body. India Davis is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus; the company’s sold-out shows have been annually featured in the National Queer Arts Festival since 2013. In February 2016, Davis completed a month-long solo exhibition of performance and visual art entitled From a Place with no Space or Time shown at two Oakland venues: Qulture Collective and The Flight Deck and featured in Bust magazine. In June 2016, she conceived, directed and starred in PARADISE, Topsy-Turvy’s first full-length narrative production that featured an all LGBTQ of color cast. Davis teaches aerial, pole and acrobatic classes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She recently co-designed Destiny Arts Center’s groundbreaking new Queer Emerging Artist Residency program.