Through our grantmaking and capacity building, Astraea is invested in supporting safe places for our communities to heal, rebuild, learn, collaborate, and grow. We provide activists with the tools they need to build their holistic security capabilities, an approach that integrates physical and digital security, as well as self/collective care. This is how we collectively build power, resilience, and joy. As activists contend with fraught political environments, heightened oppression, and constant surveillance, we are committed to the holistic wellbeing of LGBTQI communities around the world.
By supporting groups fighting for digital rights, Astraea supports the evolution of an Internet that centers gender justice, racial justice, and sexual liberation. We are lifting up the methods and wisdom of traditional healing and practices alongside dialogues around digital security as we work to strengthen our paths towards liberation.
The convening was a healing space in and of itself, led by a combined team of healers and practitioners. Astraea created a generative space to support activists’ visions, build and sustain new and existing strategies across regions, and to enhance thought partnership across racial, migrant, and economic justice LGBTQI organizing to address generational trauma, grief, and crisis from systemic oppression collectively.
In May 2018, together with TGEU - Transgender Europe, Astraea launched a new report, Mapping Digital Landscapes of Trans Activism in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The report gives a regional overview of digital organizing by trans activists in 26 countries of Central Asia and Eastern Europe (CAEE), emphasizing shared patterns of digital usage, barriers to safe use of the internet, and resistance strategies to homo/transphobic-motivated censorship, surveillance, and online attacks.
The report provides a set of recommendations for funders and tech communities, social media corporations, and government entities. It emphasizes the urgent need to invest resources in trans movements in the CAEE region, to increase their capacities to organize digitally, and to combat the growing crackdowns on internet freedom and civil society.
Through interactive workshops, communications clinics, research, and grantmaking, activists collaborated to develop media that shifts misconceptions about LGBTQI people.
The research revealed many surprises: activists witnessed the impact of stories as people’s mindsets began to change and they expressed an openness to learning about and supporting LGBTQI people in their communities. The project uncovered new opportunities to reach potential supporters with targeted messaging that uplifts shared Kenyan values. Kenyan activists are using these skills across their varied approaches to their work; from accompanying advocacy efforts challenging colonial-era laws used to criminalize LGBTQI communities to strengthening their community organizing.
Supported by Astraea since 2014
Association Okvir supports LGBTIQA communities in reclaiming public space in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) through community building, cultural production, activism, and alliance building. Working with a feminist “multiple discriminations” approach, Okvir roots its work in the intersections of sex, gender, race, class, ethnicity, age, and ability. In line with its efforts to increase LGBTIQA visibility and knowledge in public space, Okvir launched Queer Archive this year. The digital media project hosts a collection of historical narratives and counter-narratives about LGBTIQA activism and life during the war and transitional period in the former Yugoslavia.
Supported by Astraea since 2018
The Center for Media Justice (CMJ) fights for racial and economic justice in a digital age by advancing communication rights, access, and power for all communities harmed by persistent inequality and oppression. The organization continues to equip under-represented communities with the skills and security means to strengthen digital organizing for human rights progress. Their recent efforts include researching and organizing against criminal justice and commercial use of facial recognition technology to collect data about marginalized communities.
Supported by Astraea for over 10 years
Sappho for Equality is a lesbian activist forum fighting for equal rights for LGBTQ people and an end to gender and sexuality based discrimination. They are committed to uplifting and centering the needs and realities of queer people in Eastern India, by employing a variety of technologies to amplify their ability to tell creative stories and amplify authentic narratives. Sappho for Equality has hosted an LGBT Film and Video Festival in Kolkata, India for the past 10 years, and produce ‘SWAKANTHEY’ a biannual, bilingual six-page newsletter of academic articles, non-fiction writing, and poetry. In the past year, they held a national lesbian, bisexual, and trans (LBT) convening to build and hold space for LBT activism and resistance in the face of a growing fascist government.
Their work in shifting narratives around LGBTQ people in India, as well as their work alongside other grassroots groups in India to advocate both online and offline for LGBTQ rights, played an important role in the historic repeal of Section 377 in September 2018. The colonial-era law criminalized homosexual acts under India’s penal code.
Supported by Astraea since 2014
The Racial Justice Action Center is a multiracial organizing and training center working to build the grassroots leadership and power of communities of color and low income communities. The organization collaboratively provides resources and training toward leadership which transforms individuals, communities, and societies. Their work is fundamentally rooted in healing justice and uses this approach to help activate leaders to mediate, mitigate, and interfere with projections of anger and fear in the current political moment.
© 2019 Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice