Astraea’s 2017 Holiday Party!

Join us on December 7th from 7:30pm-9:30pm for Astraea’s Holiday Party, as we continue celebrating our 40th Anniversary and prepare to wrap up 2017.

Join us on December 7th from 7:30pm-9:30pm for Astraea’s Holiday Party, as we continue celebrating our 40th Anniversary and prepare to wrap up 2017.

Bring your dancing shoes, as we will have on ours—DJ Sakir will be spinning music.

Please RSVP if you plan to attend!

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.

 

 

Astraea Congratulates Trans Candidates Andrea Jenkins and Dancia Roem on Election Results

Both women are openly transgender and their victories symbolize major victories on behalf of queer representation in U.S. politics.

 

New York, New York— The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the exclusive funder of LGBTQI organizations and individuals in the U.S. and around the globe, issued the following statement congratulating Andrea Jenkins and Danica Roem on their respective election victories to lead in Minneapolis and the state of Virginia respectively. Both women are openly transgender and their victories symbolize major victories on behalf of queer representation in U.S. politics.

“The results of Tuesday’s elections remind us that the people have a voice and they will continue to exercise it. The victories of Danica Roem and Andrea Jenkins symbolize an electoral response to the divisive rhetoric that has surrounded nearly every electoral race of the past year,” said J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director of the Astraea Foundation.

“Andrea Jenkins is the first transgender person of color elected to a major city’s governing body and Danica Roem will be first openly transgender person elected official in Virginia. Both of these women are ‘firsts’ ushering a much-needed social agenda that focuses much more on ability – in this case to lead effectively – than labels. While no one should worry that their sexuality or gender identity impacts their ability to contribute to our society politics must be actively inclusive. Queer individuals, and other underrepresented groups have particularly poignant views to offer; our voices must be heard. I am so proud of these women and look forward to many more LGBTQI victories in 2018 and beyond as others are inspired to take up the mantel and lead the next generation of activists. This election is a reminder that we should never run from our values of inclusion and justice, but rather use them as our foundation and strategy to win,” concluded Alotta.

####

About Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. For 40 years, we have been the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. We support brilliant and brave grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally who challenge oppression and seed change. We work for racial, economic, social, and gender justice, because everyone deserves to live their lives freely, without fear, and with dignity. Earlier this year, Astraea launched a new fund to help respond to the critical needs within the LGBTQI community in the United States, the Uprising of Love Fund.

Global Surveys of Intersex and Trans Groups Reveal Critical Funding Gap

AJWS, Astraea and GATE call on international funders to increase their support for intersex and trans groups, so they can continue – and expand – their vital work.

Today, American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea) and Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE) released the findings of their global surveys of intersex and trans organizations in 107 countries in two new reports, The State of Intersex Organizing (2nd edition) and The State of Trans Organizing (2nd edition). More than 450 trans groups and 50 intersex groups participated in the surveys.

The reports conclude that, despite exponential growth in LGBTI funding in recent years, intersex and trans groups are deeply under-resourced and continue to be neglected by international funders. Key findings include:

  • Just 6% of trans groups and almost no intersex groups receive funding from donor governments.
  • More than three-fifths of trans groups and almost half of intersex groups receive no external funding at all.
  • More than half of trans groups and more than three-quarters of intersex groups globally had 2016 budgets of less than US $10,000.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 intersex groups and 1 in 3 trans groups have full-time paid staff. Even those with paid staff struggle to provide a living wage given their budget constraints.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 trans and intersex groups report needing support with fundraising and grant-writing, and roughly three-quarters report needing support in healing from trauma and preventing burnout.

AJWS, Astraea and GATE call on international funders to increase their support for intersex and trans groups, so they can continue – and expand – their vital work.

Read the full reports in English, and executive summaries in Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish:

The State of Intersex Organizing

中文 | English | Français | русский | Español | Full report

The State of Trans Organizing

中文 | English | FrançaisрусскийEspañol | Full report

* * *

About Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE)

GATE is an international organization working on gender identity, sex characteristics and, more broadly, on bodily diversity issues. We work on supporting trans, gender diverse and intersex movements by producing and making available critical knowledge, promoting their access to organizational resources, and advocating with them to make our human rights a lived reality.

About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service is the leading Jewish organization working to promote human rights and end poverty in the developing world. Through direct funding of trans and intersex groups and carrying out advocacy to increase funding by other funders, AJWS works to increase resources for LGBTI communities in the developing world, including intersex and trans activists.

About Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea)

Astraea is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights on a global scale. Through grantmaking, capacity building and leadership development, philanthropic advocacy and media and communications, Astraea provides critical strategic resources to hundreds of LGBTQI groups in the U.S. and internationally.

Supporting Intersex Human Rights Around the Globe

This Intersex Awareness Day we are proud to announce our third and largest cycle of grants for the Intersex Human Rights Fund, after receiving the largest number of eligible new intersex-led applicants to date.

This Intersex Awareness Day we are proud to announce our third and largest cycle of grants for the Intersex Human Rights Fund, after receiving the largest number of eligible new intersex-led applicants to date.

The Fund’s third round of grantmaking totals nearly $300,000 USD in grants to 37 intersex-led groups in 28 countries. This year, it was exciting to see new intersex-led groups being formed and more proposals coming from the under-represented regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many of the organizations are younger groups that represent the emerging international intersex movement. While the oldest group was founded in 1985, half of the intersex-led groups who applied to the Fund were founded in the last five years.

The first of its kind, the Intersex Human Rights Fund supports organizations, projects and campaigns led by intersex activists working to ensure the human rights, bodily autonomy, physical integrity and self-determination of intersex people worldwide. The Intersex Fund responds to the significant gap in funding for intersex issues by resourcing intersex-led activism, building the capacity of intersex groups, raising visibility and driving resources to the intersex movement.

Intersex activists continue to organize and be effective in their advocacy strategies that reject the pathologization of intersex bodies. Intersex-led initiatives, advocacy efforts, campaigns, research, support services and projects characterize this social movement that calls for recognition of the human rights violations and protections from such violations, discrimination and violence experienced by intersex children, adolescents and adults across the world.

In the past year we have seen organisations and individuals:

  • Step up their advocacy efforts towards legal reform to end “normalising surgeries” on intersex people;
  • Call for anti-discrimination policies and laws;
  • Publish more research and reports highlighting the violations and lived realities of intersex people;
  • Highlight intersex issues and rights violations in more countries and languages;
  • Collaborate and establish new partnerships not only with human rights organisations, but also with educational institutions.
Iranti-Org, South Africa

We have also seen human rights and political institutions becoming more aware and inclusive of intersex human rights, but also more vocal about their support.

Groups like Intersex Russia are organizing at regional levels to bring youth activists together to connect and support each other. Others, like longtime Astraea grantee partner Iranti.org are using their grant to revive Intersex South Africa (ISSA). The grant will assist with registration, updating the archives and creating programs to connect intersex people in South Africa. Vivir y Ser Intersex (literally, Living and Being Intersex) is one of the 11 new groups to join this round of grants. It was initially founded as a blog with the purpose of creating original content about intersex in Spanish language, since a vast majority of content online is available only in English. They now aim to increase political pressure on the perpetrators of intersex genital mutilation (IGM), promote human rights and raise awareness of intersex and IGM practices.

From international human rights advocacy to art and cultural production, Intersex Fund grantee partners are engaged in groundbreaking work to promote the rights and dignity of intersex people around the world.

Learn more about the amazing organizations working to secure rights for Intersex people around the globe:

AIS Support Group Australia Inc. (AISSGA) | Association of Russian-Speaking Intersex People | Beyond the Boundary – knowing and concerns Intersex | Bilitis Resource Center | Blue Diamond SocietyBrújula IntersexualCollectif Intersexes et Allié-e-sComité Visibilité IntersexeEgalite Intersex Ukraine | interAct | Intersex Campaign for Equality (OII-USA) | Intersex Danmark | Intersex Day Project | Intersex Ísland | Intersex RussiaIntersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ)intersexioni | IntersexUK | Iranti-OrgIsha L’Isha Haifa Feminist Center Intersex Rights Project | JinsianguMulabi/Latin American Space for Sexualities and Rights | OII Italia | OII-AustraliaOrganisation Intersex International DeutschlandOrganisation Intersex International EuropeOrganization Intersex International-ChinesePidgeon Pagonis | Rainbow Identity AssociationStichting Nederlands Netwerk IntersekseTrans Bantu Association ZambiaVerein Intersexuelle Menschen Österreich | Vivir Y Ser Intersex | XY SpectrumZwischengeschlecht.org / StopIGM.org | Intersex Archive Project

Nancy Dean: Astraea Founding Mother

Astraea is deeply saddened to hear of the loss of one of our esteemed founding mothers, Nancy Dean.

Astraea is deeply saddened to hear of the loss of one of our esteemed founding mothers, Nancy Dean.

Dean was a professor at Hunter College, where she taught courses on Chaucer and Medieval Studies, as well as courses on women’s studies and women-centered literature. She has authored an impressive portfolio of plays, including plays that have been produced off-Broadway. In 1995, Sisters on Stage honored Dean with an award for playwriting and support for other lesbian playwrights, which became known as the Nancy Dean Distinguished Playwriting Award.

Learning that women received less than 1 percent of foundation grants, Dean co-founded Astraea in 1977 with the intention of creating a lesbian foundation for all women, especially women of color. “When I told Nancy the dismal numbers,” says her partner, Beva Eastman, “she immediately said ‘we should start our own.'” In a 2008 interview with Kelly Anderson of Smith College, Astraea’s former Executive Director Katherine Acey called Dean “the catalyst” for the founding of Astraea, which became one of the first women’s foundations to emerge during that time period, and which “came out” officially as a lesbian organization in 1990.

Remembering Dean’s legacy feels particularly poignant as we celebrate LGBT History Month and prepare to celebrate Astraea’s 40th Anniversary on November 13. Dean’s foresight and vision birthed what has grown to become a global LGBTQI foundation that provides crucial support to grassroots LGBTQI organizations in the U.S. and around the world. We feel deeply honored to carry on Dean’s vision and legacy as we move into our next 40 years.

Rest in power, Nancy.

Astraea Condemns Recent Reversal of Protections Against Workplace Discrimination

We – women and the entire LGBTQI community – not only deserve better than an administration that has placed a target on our backs, we will resist until our civil liberties are protected.

Image courtesy of Southern Vision Alliance

New York, New York— The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the exclusive funder of LGBTQI organizations and individuals both in the U.S. and around the globe, issued the following statement in response to two recent sets of guidance from the Department of Justice to reverse Obama-era workplace protections policy. The first guidance, announced on Thursday argued that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not explicitly cover discrimination on the basis of gender identity, thus removing workplace protections for trans individuals. Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo protecting “religious liberty,” a widely understood allowance of discrimination against women and members of the LGBTQI community.

“It is reprehensible that this administration seems determined to roll back workplace protections, especially for women and LGBTQI peoples. This exhibits a blatant disregard for their contributions to U.S. society, from public servants to members of the private sector,” said J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director of the Astraea Foundation.

“We – women and the entire LGBTQI community – not only deserve better than an administration that has placed a target on our backs, we will resist until our civil liberties are protected. Astraea will continue our work, fueling the frontlines of LGBTQI justice to combat this administration’s denunciation of equality. No one should be forced to live in fear of losing their job because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We will continue to fight for freedom and justice until each and every one of us can live a life free from harm and discrimination,” concluded Alotta.

About Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. For 40 years, we have been the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. We support brilliant and brave grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally who challenge oppression and seed change. We work for racial, economic, social, and gender justice, because everyone deserves to live their lives freely, without fear, and with dignity. Earlier this year, Astraea launched a new fund to help respond to the critical needs within the LGBTQI community in the United States, the Uprising of Love Fund.

Astraea Team Grows

Join us in welcoming a team of people who have justice in their bones.

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to introduce you to new Astraea leadership and our ever-growing team: fierce folks hailing from an amalgam of backgrounds and expertise, with one thing in common—a relentless vision for gender, racial and economic justice.

Cara Page joins us as our new Director of Programs. She is a Black Feminist Queer cultural/memory worker and organizer, and most recently the Executive Director of long-time Astraea grantee partner Audre Lorde Project. Cara’s brilliance, political commitment and movement acumen will no doubt propel Astraea’s 40 years of activist grantmaking precisely where we belong! I’ve been proud to call her my comrade, and thrilled we will now be working together even more intimately and strategically. Her long-time organizing and movement building history in the U.S. South, leadership and expertise are perfectly aligned to guide our programmatic work forward. “I am thrilled to join Astraea’s amazing leadership team to transform, amplify and strengthen resources for our LGBTSTGNCQIA U.S. & global movements towards our collective liberation,” says Cara.

Sarah Gunther, who stewarded the Program Team for the last four years with excellence, compassion and systematic rigour, has transitioned to a new role, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships. From this new perch, she will build institutional partnerships with foundations and governments, and leverage Astraea’s leadership in philanthropy to better resource LGBTQI rights and racial, economic and gender justice movements. “I couldn’t be more excited to join up with Cara, everyone at Astraea and our partners in the field to mobilize new and better money for organizers on the frontlines,” says Sarah.

As many of you know, Barbara-Jean Davis joins Astraea as the Director of Development. Barbara Jean has served in leadership roles within the reproductive rights, gender justice and social justice movements. She brings with her a wealth of fundraising expertise and over 15 years of rallying resources to social justice organizations, most recently as the Director of Development at Hetrick-Martin Institute. “I could not be more honored or excited,” says Barbara Jean. “I’m looking forward to elevating Astraea’s fundraising and development efforts to ensure our LGBTQI partners continue to have the support they need to be agents of change.”

Read about all our exciting new team members—Cara Page, Barbara Jean Davis, Sarah Gunther, and Kristin Gardner—in the bio links below. Join me in welcoming a team of people who have justice in their bones—the calling to organize, mobilize, resource, resist and overcome!

With deep solidarity,

J. Bob Alotta

Welcome to Astraea’s new directors!

Cara Page, Director of Programs

Cara Page is a Black Feminist Queer cultural/memory worker & organizer. She comes from a long ancestral legacy of organizers and cultural workers from the Southeast to the Northeast. [Read more]

Barbara Jean Davis, Director of Development

Barbara Jean Davis comes to Astraea with 15 years of strategic development and nonprofit management expertise with a strong emphasis on LGBTQ and women’s rights. [Read more]

Sarah Gunther, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships

Sarah Gunther is the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at the Astraea Foundation, where she works to influence philanthropy to better resource LGBTQI rights and racial, economic and gender justice movements, and builds institutional partnerships with foundations and governments. [Read more]

Kristin Gardner, Associate Director of Major Gifts

Kristin Gardner serves as Associate Director of Major Gifts. With a diverse background in nonprofit management and a passion for social justice, she’s held development positions at Arthritis Foundation, Transgender Legal Defence and Education Fund, and most recently served as Major Gifts Officer at The New York Women’s Foundation. [Read more]

 

On Charlottesville

The goings-on in Charlottesville, Virginia, while atrocious, are neither isolated nor are they surprising.

Photo credit: Elainiel Baldwin

Dearest Friends,

Astraea exists to disrupt injustice at its roots. The goings-on in Charlottesville, Virginia, while atrocious, are neither isolated nor are they surprising. This rallying of white supremacists in August 2017 occurred on soil that has long been tilledrace hatred is the original crop upon which this nation was built. White supremacy was the first contaminant to contribute to the attempted genocide of people indigenous to this land, it was the justification for the enslavement of African people to build the American economy, and it is the cornerstone of every silo that would have us imagine our struggles for freedom are somehow not inextricably linked.

There is no isolated liberation. Every demand we have for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people to live freely, prosperously and safely is predicated on the absolute insistence that we do so as people of color, as people of myriad faiths and spiritual practice, as people with every glorious bodily variation and ability, as people born in any and every homeland, and as white people who refuse to be complacent in the face of the silence white supremacy seeks to ensure it’s insidious insertion into the fabric of American society and, for that matter, on any other shore.

We reject white supremacy because it requires the death or endangerment of Black people, all people of color, immigrants, Jewish people, Muslim people, LGBTQI people and all who threaten power’s predilections. We reject white supremacy and the mental enslavement it commits whether to justify overt aggression or passive complacency because each serve supremacy’s vitality. White complacency is the inhalation from which white supremacy exhales.

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice exists to disrupt the purposeful isolation that would have any one of us believe we have to go it alone; we are relentless in our commitment to racial, gender and economic justice. Astraea is an amalgam of people who audaciously insist we actually can all be free: we are donors, grantee partners, staff and board members; we commit all that we can to end the vulgar and violent abuse of freedom’s imminent possibility. We will win. Together.

With deep solidarity,

J. Bob Alotta

What Astraea’s Been Up To!

Astraea is unrelenting in our commitment to gender, racial and economic justice. Here are a few of Astraea’s highlights from 2017 so far.

Astraea is unrelenting in our commitment to gender, racial and economic justice. As the first philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI rights around the world—we know we are called to build, sustain, resource and celebrate our people and movements. Here are a few of Astraea’s highlights from 2017 so far:

Photo: Radical Queer Affinity Collective, Hungary

Shifted resources to the frontlines

Our funds continue to support ongoing & emerging intersectional LBTQI activism around the world. In the past year, we have made 249 grants in 68 countries with nearly $4 million. This year, we were excited to welcome 42 new grantee partners into our community, all of whom are led by LBQ women and/or trans people. Our new grantee partners represent a deepening of our strategy to increase funding in under-resourced countries/regions, such as West Africa/Francophone Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Brazil and post-Soviet countries in Europe/Central Asia.

 

Photo: Astraea Executive Director Emerita Katherine Acey and Acey Award honoree Reverend Gale Jones

Launched the Acey Social Justice Feminist Award

Our lesbian and trans forebears paved the way for our current movements. This June, Astraea proudly announced the Acey Social Justice Feminist Award to honor the legacies of those whose activism built the foundations for activism today, and to call attention to the need for LGBTQ elder community support. This year’s inaugural honorees are Reverend Gale Jones, Angela Bowen, Ali Marrero-Calderon and Eleanor Palacios. [Read more about the award and honorees]

 

Photo: First LBQ project convening at the AWID Forum in Brazil, September 2016

Advocated for more resources for lesbian, bisexual and queer women, and gender non-conforming peoples!

Astraea and Mama Cash completed phase 1 of the groundbreaking Philanthropic Advocacy for LBQ Women’s and LBQ Gender Non-Conforming Peoples’ Activisms project. The project intends to increase support for LBQ activism globally, given the chronic under-resourcing of movement strategies that prioritize and emphasize self-determination, radical imagination and long-term processes of liberation.

 

Photo: Intersex Fund grantee partner Pidgeon Pagonis on Intersex Awareness Day, October 2016

Made our largest cycle of grants to support Intersex Human Rights

We completed our Intersex Human Rights Fund’s third cycle of grants after receiving the highest number of eligible new intersex-led applicants to date—and we made $280,000 in grants to 37 groups! Astraea remains the only institutional funder for nearly all intersex groups working at the national level. The intersex movement is rapidly growing yet remainds deeply underfunded. Our support has helped intersex organizations sustain, strengthen and expand their work.

 

Photo: Intersex activists at the 4th Intersex Forum in April 2017

Convened Activists and Donors at the Intersex Forum

In April, we organized a dialogue between activists and donors at the 4th International Intersex Forum in Amsterdam, which represented the first time that donors have been invited to join a portion of this intersex-only space. The donor-activist dialogue was a learning space for both parties, with many activists gaining an introduction to grantmaking, and donors a stronger understanding of the movement.

 

Photo: Astraea staff and grantee partners at a healing justice strategy session, June 2017

Paved the way for long-term Healing Justice support

This June in Detroit, Astraea brought together grantee partners Southerners on New GroundFamilia TQLMAudre Lorde ProjectMijente and Freedom Inc to learn about the best ways to support Healing Justice work as a long-term strategy. The meeting created a space to identify, explore and build movement-based ways of collaboratively addressing trauma, grief, crisis, healing and wellness. Folks shared how needed and timely it was for them to be able to connect, most of them meeting for the first time. It is crucial to collectively heal in order to continue to fight.

 

Photo: Southern Vision Alliance, USA

Forged Partnerships – The Racial Justice Fund provides $850,000+ to Southern Multi-Issue Organizing

Philanthropic partnerships have the potential to galvanize support for the most vulnerable areas of our movements. The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund, housed at Astraea, champions intersectional social-change work with a focus on movement-building in the U.S. South. This year they made more than $850,000 in grants to organizations in ten Southern states. [Read more]

 

Photo: Executive Director J. Bob Alotta and Patrisse Cullors
Photographer: Dawn Kirkpatrick

Celebrated with purpose at the Fueling the Frontlines Awards in Los Angeles

Nearly 300 guests raised over $100,000 at our 2017 Fueling the Frontlines Awards in Los Angeles. The Gala began with a moving performance from Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable of the Sower: The Concert Version” by Toshi Reagon and friends, and we celebrated the resistance leadership of Patrisse Cullors, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Bruce Cohen, Jorge Ramos and Paola Ramos, as well as Acey Award honoree Angela Bowen.

Join us as we continue to support LGBTQI people and social justice in the coming months and beyond!