Trans Day of Remembrance, Resilience, and Resistance

Today we make space for the remembrance of trans and nonbinary people who have been lost to anti-trans violence, we honor the resilience of trans communities, and we remain steadfast in our resistance to anti-trans violence and ideology.

This TDOR, the Astraea Foundation is excited to collaborate with freelance artist and designer, Emulsify. To learn more about their work, please visit @emulsify.art on Instagram.

 

 “Our task is to move from sympathy to responsibility, from complicity to reflexivity, from witnessing to action. It is not enough to simply honor the memory of the dead—we must transform the practices of the living.”

 

Today we make space for the remembrance of trans and nonbinary people who have been lost to anti-trans violence, we honor the resilience of trans communities, and we remain steadfast in our resistance to anti-trans violence and ideology.

Trans Day of Remembrance began as an opportunity for healing for the trans community, and it has succeeded in bringing the epidemic of violence against Black trans women to widespread public attention. According to the Trans Murder Monitoring research project, which tracks anti-trans violence globally, at least 320 trans and gender diverse people have been lost to violence across the world in 2023. 94% of those reported murdered were trans women and trans feminine people, and 80% were trans people affected by racism – Black, brown, Indigenous, and people of color. We recognize that this number is likely higher, as violence against the trans community is underreported, misreported, and ignored.

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice honors our trans communities and the rich diversity of trans identities. The intersectional feminist values which inform the Astraea Foundation’s work today owe much to the scholarship, activism, and generosity of trans activists, specifically trans women of color.

 Trans activists are present at the forefront of rights struggles, and our grassroots focused, innovative philanthropy centers trans voices in global activism. The Astraea Foundation will continue to responsively support trans-led organizations and groups to interrupt systems of oppression and build toward a future where our communities survive and thrive. 

Meet Our Newest International Fund Grantee Partners

We are proud to announce our latest cycle of International Fund grantee partners with new groups from Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Honduras, and Ukraine. This year so far, we have awarded over $1.2 million to 64 groups in 38 countries. The International Fund supports grassroots groups led by LGBTQI+ communities working for progressive social change, addressing oppression based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression who are also simultaneously advancing the work of racial, economic, and gender justice.

All around the world, LGBTQI+ people are experiencing the impacts of fundamentalist, conservative, fascist, nationalist, white supremacist, far-right, anti-gender, and anti-rights forces. Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is proud to announce our latest cycle of International Fund grantee partners with new groups from Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Honduras, and Ukraine. This year so far, we have awarded over $1.2 million to 64 groups in 38 countries. The International Fund supports grassroots groups led by LGBTQI+ communities working for progressive social change, addressing oppression based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression who are also simultaneously advancing the work of racial, economic, and gender justice.

The Astraea Foundation’s International Fund covers six regional portfolios: Africa, Asia & the Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia, Latin America; and South West Asia with grantmaking spread across two cycles. Organizations to support in this cycle were selected across four of these regional portfolios: Africa; Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia; Asia & the Pacific; and Latin America.

The many incredible grantee partners in our current International Fund grant cycle include:

  • Swaziland – Lesbian Bisexual Queer Rights Swaziland (LBQRS) was formed as a support group for lesbian women who are survivors of corrective rape and lesbian women who were forced into marriages. LBQRS engages with traditional and community leaders in rural areas to strengthen the voice of LBQ women in rural Swaziland, support survivors of corrective rape, and ensure that rural perspectives are included in the broader LGBTQI+ movement.

  • Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan Feminist Initiative (Feminita) was established in 2014 as a grassroots collective of activists dedicated to women’s rights, with a particular focus on lesbian, bisexual, queer, and trans women and women with disabilities. Their efforts foster transformation across social, political, economic, and cultural areas. In 2024, Feminita will be hosting the 3rd European Lesbian* Conference (EL*C) in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

  • Thailand – Thai Transgender Alliance (Thai TGA) was founded in 2010, and advocates for the quality of life and rights of transgender and gender-diverse people through public advocacy, research, education, network building, and media advocacy strategies. Recently, Thai TGA has focused on capacity building to develop leadership among younger activists from trans-masculine and non-binary communities.

  • Guatemala – Mujeres con Capacidad de Soñar is a group of women and non-binary people with disabilities and allies founded in 2018. Mujeres is a space for self-support and self-help with a focus on supporting young indigenous women with disabilities. They work to increase access to sexual and reproductive rights and promote awareness of oppression in terms of sexuality and gender identity. Members value the space to explore their identities and some now openly introduce themselves as part of the LBT community.

With the aim of supporting LGBTQI+ rights across the globe, the International Fund selects grassroots LGBTQI+ movements focused on context-specific tactics, cultural change, and liberation. Through flexible, trust-based, and feminist funding principles, the International Fund continues to support lesbians, bisexual and queer women, non-binary and transgender people, intersex people, and allied communities to challenge oppression and claim their human rights.

2023 Cycle A International Fund Grantee Partners*

*Note: We do not publicize a number of our courageous grantee partners because of security threats they face in their local contexts, so organizations may be missing from this list.

Africa:

Artists for Recognition and Acceptance AfRA, Kenya 

Elles Cameroon, Carmeroon 

Empowered Ladies Initiative for Equality, Kenya 

Jinsiangu, Kenya 

Ladies’s Voice, Togo 

LBQ Education Health and Advocacy, LEHA, Kenya 

Lesbian Bisexual Queer Rights Swaziland, Swaziland 

Mothers Haven

Parents, Families & Friends of the South African Queers, South Africa 

QET Inclusion, Cote d’Ivoire 

West African Trans Forum, West Africa 

Asia & the Pacific:

Asia Feminist LBQ Network, Regional  

Point of View, India 

Thai Transgender Alliance (Thai TGA), Thailand 

Sompurna, Bangladesh 

Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia:

European Sex Worker Alliance, Regional

Feminita, Kazakhstan

Labris Belgrade, Serbia

LBQ Central Asian Network, Central Asia

Lesbian* Resistance, Georgia

LGBIQA Association Okvir, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ride Side NGO, Armenia

Trans-Fuzja Foundation, Poland

Latin America:

Brújula Intersexual, Mexico 

Cattrachas, Honduras 

Chola Contravisual, Peru 

Diversidades Trans Masculinas, Peru 

Mujeres con Capacidad de Soñar a Colores, Guatemala 

Taller de Comunicacion Mujer, Ecuador 

 

 

Announcing Our Newest U.S. Fund Grantee Partners

The Astraea Foundation is proud to announce our latest round of U.S. Fund grantee partners with $1.4 million in 23 grants going to groups across the U.S. and its claimed territories. Our U.S. Fund supports LGBTQI+ Black and Indigenous communities with flexible, multi-year core support for new grantee partners focused on housing and land acquisition, and climate justice.

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is proud to announce our latest round of U.S. Fund grantee partners with $1.4 million in 23 grants going to groups across the U.S. and its claimed territories. Our U.S. Fund supports LGBTQI+ Black and Indigenous communities with flexible, multi-year core support for new grantee partners focused on housing and land acquisition, and climate justice.

Against the backdrop of growing anti-gender violence, more drastic and frequent disasters due to climate change and rampant environmental racism disproportionately impact LGBTQI+ people of color. Our Black and Indigenous communities face increasing violence, uncertainty, and exhaustion. The Astraea Foundation’s U.S. Fund remains rooted in supporting front line communities who will interrupt systems of oppression and build toward a future where our communities will thrive. It is with that guiding principle that the U.S. Fund is partnering with 22 new grantees to support their work on housing and land acquisition, and climate justice.

Four U.S. Fund grantee partners doing this work include:

  • Georgia – Trans Housing Atlanta Program (THAP) is a community-led organization founded and organized by Black trans and non-binary Atlantans. Since its inception in 2014, THAP has been dedicated to offering direct housing, emergency shelter assistance, rental and utility aid, and other crucial resources to support the sustainable housing and income of trans and nonbinary individuals in the region.

  • Florida – The McKenzie Project Inc. (TMPI) caters exclusively to the needs of Black trans and nonbinary people in South Florida by facilitating meaningful conversations about climate and environmental justice, and climate disaster preparedness. They seek to mitigate the effects of increasingly severe weather events and provide responsive support to community members. 

  • Missouri – Our Spot KC provides safe, accepting, and affirming services, programming, and resources to empower the LGBTQ+ community in Kansas City. LGBTQ+ people represent approximately 50% of people experiencing being unhoused in Kansas City. Our Spot KC provides housing, case management, systems navigation support, and mental health services as a baseline safety net for Kansas City’s LGBTQ+ community to thrive and continue to strengthen our movements.
  • Puerto Rico – Albanistería en la Brega Inc. is a Puerto Rican queer women-led non-profit organization that develops DIY and cabinetmaking skills in women (all women), non-binary folks, and girls with the purpose of empowering its participants. It breaks traditional cultural beliefs in the division of labor by sex and reduces the gap in access to non-traditional jobs for women.

The Astraea Foundation’s U.S. Fund advocates for liberation by centering the grassroots leaders closest to both the problem and the solution. For more than 45 years, the fund has focused on the intersections of racial, gender, economic, and reproductive justice movements, centering Black and POC leaders. Now more than ever, the fight for housing and land acquisition, and climate justice needs urgent support, and we are proud to expand the resources available to this critical work.

2023 U.S. Fund Grantee Partners*

*Note: We do not publicize a number of our courageous grantee partners because of security threats they face in their local contexts, so organizations may be missing from this list.

Housing and Land Acquisition:

The Acorn Center for Restoration and Freedom, Georgia

Baltimore Safe Haven, Maryland

Casa Al-Fathiha, Illinois

Our Spot KC, Missouri

THIS Houston

The Knights and Orchids Society, Alabama

Trans Housing Atlanta Program, Georgia

Zami Nobla, Georgia

Climate Justice:

Albanisteria en la Brega, Puerto Rico 

Espicy Nipples, Puerto Rico

Birthmark Doula Collective

The Black Feminist Project, New York

The Black Mycelium Project, North Carolina

Center for Embodied Pedagogy, Puerto Rico

Community Movement Builders, Georgia

Eagle Bear Cultural Center

Earth Guardians

Earthlodge Center, California

Mariposas Rebeldes, Georgia

Sovereign Earth Works, Washington DC

Tender Fruits Collective, Vermont

The McKenzie Project, Florida

Astraea’s 2023 Global Activist Convening in Thailand

In June 2023, the Astraea Foundation brought together 110 participants from 45 countries for a three-day Global Activist Convening in Kao Lak, Thailand. The convening created a collaborative and activist-driven space for participants to build knowledge, deepen trust and solidarity, strengthen transnational movement connections, and imagine solutions all within a shared space rooted in healing, rest, wellness, and care.

María José (Majo) (she) & Patricia (she) from Movimiento Lesbia in Peru. Photo Credit: Mambo Kerdphon

The movement to fight anti-gender actors and policies must center activists on the ground, support their needs, and provide resources for their strategies. Our 2023 report, “Global Resistance to Anti-Gender Opposition,” identified several priorities grassroots movements need to continue their vital work. Two of those priorities, an enabling environment and inter-movement solidarity, are something Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice supports with our Global Activist Convenings. These conferences, organized by the Astraea Foundation since 2015, provide time and space for activists from around the globe to collaborate and strategize.

When activists and organizers have time to reflect, collaborate, and share strategies, our movements are stronger.

In June, the Astraea Foundation brought together 110 participants from 45 countries for a three-day Global Activist Convening in Kao Lak, Thailand. Each day of the conference focused on a theme, such as “Mapping our Cosmos,” “Collective Resistance & Transformations,” and “Collaborations & Strategizing.” The convening created a collaborative and activist-driven space for participants to build knowledge, deepen trust and solidarity, strengthen transnational movement connections, and imagine solutions all within a shared space rooted in healing, rest, wellness, and care. To honor our commitment to language justice, the convening offered on-site translation in Kannada, Serbian, French, Spanish, and English. 

This year’s convening was part of a larger movement-building and strengthening project informed by research from our 2023 report, culminating in the largest activist convening in the Astraea Foundation’s history.

A heartfelt thanks and much appreciation goes to our partners on the ground, Asia Pacific Transgender Network, for their support and leadership in bringing this convening to life, as well as our advisory board, team of facilitators, language and healing justice practitioners, and all participants.

Celebrating our 2023 Intersex Human Rights Fund grantees

This Intersex Awareness Day, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is proud to announce our 9th annual cycle of grantee partners as part of the Intersex Human Rights Fund (IHRF). This year was the IHRF’s biggest yet, awarding nearly $600,000 in grants to 62 groups in more than 50 countries, and over $210,000 in additional support for movement-building and capacity-strengthening work, such as intersex regional convenings and workshops.

Image Credit: Aude Nasr / @ahlan.my.darlings

 

This Intersex Awareness Day, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is proud to announce our 9th annual cycle of grantee partners as part of the Intersex Human Rights Fund (IHRF). This year was the IHRF’s biggest yet, awarding nearly $600,000 in grants to 62 groups in more than 50 countries, and over $210,000 in additional support for movement-building and capacity-strengthening work, such as intersex regional convenings and workshops. The IHRF 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. When we celebrate the activists working on the ground for intersex rights, we increase their visibility as part of our LGBTQI+ communities.

The violent and entrenched anti-gender practice of government policies and laws shaped by the sex and gender binary has devastating consequences for intersex bodies. As one of the only philanthropic funds exclusively supporting intersex people and advocacy, the Astraea Foundation is proud to work with our 2023 grantee partners fighting for intersex freedom. 

We are steadfast in our support of our intersex siblings. Four of our most recent grantee partners working for intersex rights are:

  • Tanzania – Tanzania Voice of Humanity (TVH) is the only intersex-led group in Tanzania, that actively promotes intersex rights through public awareness initiatives and facilitating connections between medical and non-medical institutions. Their work includes documenting the mistreatment of intersex people and sending advocacy letters to the Ministry of Health of Tanzania.  
  • Australia – Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA) works to strengthen regional and international intersex networks and advocates for intersex rights, including submitting reports to governing bodies. IHRA engages their community with trainings, screenings, and panel discussions IHRA also organizes Family Day, a day of activities for intersex people and their families. 
  • Ecuador – Colectivo Intertulias was founded in Ecuador in 2014 as a space for solidarity and peer support for intersex people. They support the development of policy proposals furthering intersex rights, and raise awareness about the barriers intersex people experience when trying to access public accommodations and exercise their human rights. 
  • Asia – Intersex Asia is a regional network of intersex activists, organizations, and communities in Asia, including China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. They support regional organizing and learning, and collaborated with the Asian Development Bank to develop an intersex inclusive safeguard policy focusing on LGBTQI human rights. 

When we support intersex communities, we fight anti-gender policies and norms. When we celebrate intersex people, we ensure they are not invisible.

 

This Intersex Awareness Day, the Astraea Foundation is excited to collaborate with Aude Nasr, a freelance illustrator based in Marseille, France. To learn more about Aude, please visit @ahlan.my.darlings on Instagram.

 

2023 Intersex Human Rights Fund Grantee Partners*

*Note: We do not publicize a number of our courageous grantee partners because of security threats they face in their local contexts, so organizations may be missing from this list.

African Intersex Movement 

Regional 

Argentina Intersex 

Argentina

Asociación Peruana de Personas Intersexuales 

Peru

Associação Brasileira de Intersexos (ABRAI) 

Brazil 

Bilitis Resource Center Bulgaria  

Bulgaria

Brújula Intersexual  

México

Campaign for Change 

Nepal

Círculo Violeta 

Puerto Rico

Colectivo Intertulias

Ecuador

Collectif Intersexe Activiste – OII France (CIA-OII France) 

France

Comunidad De Lesbianas Inclusivas Dominicanas (COLESDOM) 

Dominican Republic

Egalite Intersex Ukraine

Ukraine                               

Fundacja Interakcja  

Poland

Groupe Intersexe Désirs (GIDE)

Democratic Republic of the Congo

iCon UK

United Kingdom

InterAction – Association Suisse pour les Intersexes 

Switzerland

Intersex Advocate Trust Zimbabwe 

Zimbabwe

Intersex Anatolia/ Intersex Turkey/ Intersex Shalala

Turkey

Intersex Asia Network 

Regional

Intersex Canada 

Canada

Intersex Community of Zimbabwe 

Zimbabwe

Intersex Denmark

Denmark

Intersex Greece 

Greece

Intersex Human Rights Australia 

Australia 

Intersex Ísland – félag intersex fólks á Íslandi 

Iceland

Intersex People’s Human Rights – ISIO Finland 

Finland

Intersex Persons Society of Kenya (IPSK)

Kenya

Intersex Philippines 

Philippines

Intersex Society of Zambia

Zambia

Intersex South Africa (ISSA) 

South Africa

Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ)  

New Zealand

Intersexesiste 

 Italy

Intersexioni  

Italy

Intersex-Nigeria 

Nigeria

IntersexualesChile

Chile

Intrepida Foundation

United States

IVIM/Organization Intersex International Germany (OII Deutschland)

Germany

Ivy Foundation

Malawi

Jinsiangu

Kenya

Key Watch Ghana 

Ghana

kolekTIRV 

Croatia

Mulabi – Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos

Costa Rica

Organization Intersex International-Chinese (Oii-Chinese)

Taiwan

Organization Intersex International Europe (OII Europe) 

Regional

OII Sverige 

Sweden

Potencia intersex 

Argentina

Rainbow Identity Association

Botswana

Rede Jacob – Apoio a Familia e Pessoa Intersexo

Brazil

Roma Women of Vojvodina 

Serbia

Tanzania Voice of Humanity 

Tanzania

Trans Smart Trust 

Zimbabwe

Verein Intersexuelle Menschen Österreich (VIMÖ)  

Austria

Vivir y Ser Intersex

México

XY Spectrum 

Serbia

What is “anti-gender?”

The Astraea Foundation’s 2023 report, “Global Resistance to Anti-gender Opposition, LGBTQI+ Activism in Colombia, India, Kenya, Peru, and Serbia” provides an illuminating look into the activism in five countries, bringing to light how anti-gender governments and policies manifest in all parts of the world. 

After years of research and collaboration, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice has published our latest report, “Global Resistance to Anti-gender Opposition, LGBTQI+ Activism in Colombia, India, Kenya, Peru, and Serbia.” The report provides an illuminating look into the activism in five countries, bringing to light how anti-gender governments and policies manifest in all parts of the world. 

What is “anti-gender?” Anti-gender is an umbrella term describing ideologies that work to revoke and prevent the rights of LGBTQI+ people and criminalize their lives. Anti-gender actors work to deny access to fundamental human rights and primarily target women, trans, nonbinary, and intersex people. 

“We dream of living in a world with social justice. We reach out to other movements and we see cis-heteropatriarchy replicated there. That is a shock. But it is still good that our horizon is to make that fair world a reality for all.” – Colombian activist

Our latest report gives a snapshot of what activists on the ground experience in their fight for liberation and their priorities for achieving that goal. The four main categories of needs identified are:

  1. Financial resources 
  2. An enabling environment 
  3. Additional skills, knowledge, and strategies 
  4. Strong movements and inter-movement solidarity

In addition to the full report, you can also read an executive summary and a one-page overview with highlights from each section, all on our website. Global Resistance to Anti-gender Movements” is a collaboration between LGBTQI+ activists in Colombia, India, Kenya, Peru, Serbia, and the United States through surveys, focus groups, and community scholarship. 

The report would not have been possible without the many researchers, writers, reviewers, and translators who collaborated with the Astraea Foundation. A special thank you to the activists who participated in this research through surveys, focus groups and interviews. This report would not exist without their devotion to the movement and social justice. We especially would like to thank Alejandra Sardá-Chandiramani and Hakima Abbas, two researchers with long histories of activism, for their collaboration and support in looking into the impact of the anti-gender opposition on LGBTQI+ activism globally.

 

Read or Download:

Full Report       |       Report Summary       |       Report Overview

Mother’s Day 2023: Honoring Our Legacy

We invited our co-chair, Susana Fried, to share some reflections on our founding mothers for this year’s Mother’s Day. Motherhood takes all shapes, from chosen family, to raising children, to starting impactful movements, motherhood is grounded in care, love, and freedom. 

This Mother’s Day, I would like to honor, respect, and celebrate The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice’s 45-year history, our founding mothers, and all those who created, continue to nurture, and grow the Astraea Foundation of today.

Because of the foresight of a small group of spirited and determined women, we can support queer movements around the world with flexible, unrestricted funds. These women made clear their dedication to ensuring that women’s movements prioritize the needs of lesbians and women of color by declaring that “if it is going to exist, we will need to fund it ourselves.” This groundwork now enables us to support queer, feminist, anti-racist movements worldwide. Indeed, we are proud to be one of the first women’s funds in the world and the only one wholly devoted to advancing the rights of LGBTQI+ people globally. When we, as a community, consider the steps that come after this one, it is vital to be anchored in our history in order to plan for our future. Today, when we think about the next steps, we are thinking about the Astraea Foundation’s founding mothers.

This work is urgent – now more than ever. With anti-rights/anti-gender movements increasingly well-financed and globally networked, we’re seeing a proliferation of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices that normalize and advance criminalization and violence against LGBTQI+ communities and restrict reproductive rights and health. The growth of authoritarian, conservative forces especially target structurally excluded women, girls, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, and reinforces the most restrictive and punitive structures of power and privilege. In this context, the Astraea Foundation’s work and the work of our grantee partners is critical.

Today, we especially remember Achebe (betty) Powell. Achebe was one of the spirited and determined women who, sitting around a kitchen table in 1977, brought the Astraea Foundation into being. We very recently lost Achebe to COVID-19, which serves as a harsh reminder that COVID-19 is still killing us – and that it is killing some communities more than others. Achebe was formidable: she was the first Black lesbian to serve on the board of directors of the National Gay Task Force and was co-chair of that board for several years. She attended the historic meeting of lesbian and gay leaders at the Carter White House in 1977. She was a highly sought-after trainer on diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism in the United States. And she was also “a pioneer in connecting United States work on intersectionality, inclusion, and diversity to transnational conversations on gender, race, class, and culture.” https://www.middlechurch.org/honoring-achebe-powell/

With her roots in the civil rights movement, Achebe was full of insight, love, critical awareness, and keen humor. She had a profound passion for nurturing vibrant, inclusive, queer, anti-racist feminist groups that operate with an intersectional perspective. For me, Achebe was not just a close friend but also an integral member of my chosen family. It is still difficult for me to imagine life without her, so whenever I think about her, I envision a bright new star emerging in the night sky. It is a privilege for me to serve as a co-chair, with Bookda Gheisar, on the Astraea Foundation’s board of directors, and I do it in her honor and loving memory.

Achebe was also fluent in French; I’ll pay tribute to her vision and commitment by closing with, “la lutte continue.”

In Solidarity,
Susana Fried, Board Co-Chair

Listen to Our Grantee Partner’s Podcast!

 Under the Sycamore Tree: Archiving Caribbean Feminist Movements is a new podcast from The Astraea Foundation’s grantee-partner, Rebel Women Lit. It is supported by the Equality Fund and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, produced by Rebel Women Lit and Queerlystated, and made possible by funding from Global Affairs Canada.

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice supports transformative leadership and capacity building in the Caribbean region to advance feminist LGTBQI movements. Under the Sycamore Tree: Archiving Caribbean Feminist Movements is a new podcast from The Astraea Foundation’s grantee-partner, Rebel Women Lit. It is supported by the Equality Fund and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, produced by Rebel Women Lit and Queerlystated, and made possible by funding from Global Affairs Canada. The podcast documents the work of trailblazing Caribbean feminist organizations in ecological justice, trans and queer rights, leadership, and discusses combatting rape culture. Astraea interviewed Jacqui Brown of RWL, and Carla Moore of Moore Talk JA, about their experiences making the innovative podcast.

Why is it important for your podcast to center on the voices of LGBTQI leaders in the Caribbean?
For a long time, the Caribbean, and in particular Jamaica, has been labeled as anti-queer. While we do have issues in the region, queer people continue to survive, resist, and shape Caribbean history. But too often, their stories are overlooked. We need the podcast to celebrate the work that’s been happening for decades, and to recognize the people and communities that refuse to back down. Jamaica has had LGBT advocacy organizations as far back as the 1970s when Larry Chang started the Gay Freedom Movement. We also need to highlight trans leaders as Caribbean leaders, and homegrown revolutionaries.

What role does feminism play in the podcast’s storytelling?
Feminism is frequently depicted as white and North American, but Caribbean feminism has a long history dating back, and beyond, rebellious enslaved women on the plantation. Our feminism looks very different from common understandings of feminist activity. For instance, as citizens of primarily Small Island Developing States, our lives are very intertwined with the environment. We’re eco-feminists by default because our countries could disappear entirely due to climate change.

Every episode, you ask participants to contribute to a “virtual altar.” Why was this tradition important to include?
Under the Sycamore Tree is about connection and continuity. The podcast is like a time capsule of this moment in Queeribbean organizing. It archives just a bit of what we have done so far, offers organizers a space to meet and share with each other, and gives us a place to project our wildest hopes for the future. The virtual altar/safe space is the digital embodiment of this idea. We ask people to place an object, a thought, a quote, or an energy that they would like to share with their colleagues and those who will be coming to the work in the future. Guests have contributed everything from a teddy bear to the energy of love.

What has surprised you about making this podcast?
We ask all of our guests one question: “What would you do if you had access to unlimited funding?” Overwhelmingly they said they would purchase land. They felt that land would allow them to grow their own food, and provide enough space to safely house their community members. This would be a significant step forward – a step that would make them self-sufficient and eventually remove the need for external funding. They spoke about making pepper sauce to sell and having the ease and security of knowing they could feed their community and keep them off the streets. I never expected that answer. But I was reminded that, at the end of the day, social justice work is really about keeping people safe and alive.

Who are you hoping the podcast reaches, and what will they learn?
I hope the podcast reaches everybody. But most of all, I hope it reaches that tired social justice worker in their office at 9 PM, still pushing for their community. I hope they find community and comfort in the fact that their work is recognized. I also hope it reaches those people who are stuck in the idea that our region has a homogeneous colonial story. I hope it reaches young people who are full of energy and passion and need to see change.

The podcast is significant because sometimes when we’re doing the work in our communities – when we’re really locked in – it can feel like we’re alone. Sometimes, it feels like we have to start everything from scratch; when in reality the solution we need has been innovated and perfected by another organization two islands across. Similarly, our younger activists and our older activists sometimes feel disconnected from each other – even though they’re doing the same work. The altar is a space for us to come back to, and to remember that we’re not alone and we have the same wishes and goals for each other and our communities.

New episodes of the podcast are released periodically. Episodes 0-1 are available for streaming now.

Visibility Matters: International Lesbian Visibility Day 2023

Today on International Lesbian Visibility Day, The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice celebrates its origin in lesbian-led organizing as well as the contributions from our lesbian and queer-led grantee partners. For Lesbian communities, visibility can come with risks. Whether on social media, while traveling, or even running errands, to be visibly queer is to be vulnerable. Despite this, there are people across the world who are not only visible, but have chosen to lead the charge toward equity and inclusion through organizing and empowering their local communities. Historically, visibility has been part of The Astraea Foundation’s ethos, coming out as a lesbian organization in 1991. This International Lesbian Visibility Day, The Astraea Foundation is uplifting grantee partners led by LBQ+ people fighting for civil protections in their communities.

*We recognize ‘lesbian’ as both a sexual orientation and political identity; that it must include trans, intersex, bisexual, and queer women who identify as such or feel connected to lesbian activism, while respecting that the full spectrum of people who experience gendered oppression includes trans men, non-binary people, and more.

  • Latin America – Grupo Latinoamericano de Estudio Formación y Acción Feminista (GLEFAS), founded in 2007, sparks dialogue and political action within the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) lesbian feminist movement. GLEFAS supports the formation of collectives across the LAC region, as well as collects and preserves the history of indigenous and black lesbian activists from the global south. Their network is formed by activists, academics, and collectives from Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Spain.
  • Jamaica – We-Change Jamaica is a women’s-rights organization promoting gender equality & increased participation of LBQ+ women in social justice advocacy. We-Change Jamaica focuses on  sexual and reproductive health, reproductive justice, economic empowerment and holistic wellness. This includes hosting town hall events featuring presentations and discussions on the state of LBTQ and women’s rights in Jamaica.
  • Serbia – Rromnjako ilo improves the lives of women in Serbia by challenging sexual taboos, promoting diversity, and advocating against early forced marriages to young people. Additionally, the organization seeks to increase the visibility of LBTI Roma women in Europe and internationally.
  • Singapore – Sayoni is an intersectional queer feminist group working to build community and advocacy at local, regional and global levels. Sayoni organizes events, promotes research, and develops campaigns to support LBQ+ women in Singapore.
  • U.S. (Atlanta, Georgia) – Zami Nobla operates Biggers House, a communal living and gardening space whose goal is to provide permanent, accessible, and affordable housing to Bblack lesbian elders living on fixed income, ages 55 and up. Biggers House also includes community gardens for residents, Zami Nobla members, the LGBTQ community, and the Westlake neighborhood.

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is proud to work with all our grantee partners in the fight against oppression. It’s through their work that LBQ+ people all over the world will see a decrease in the risks of broader visibility.

45 Years of Joy in Resistance: Our 2022 Annual Report is here!

Our 2022 Annual Report celebrates Astraea’s 45th anniversary! We center the joy, community, hope, and resistance of our collective movements’ past and present to look toward our future.

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is thrilled to release our Annual Report for our 2022 fiscal year. Entitled 45 Years of Joy in Resistance, our 2022 Annual Report celebrates the Astraea Foundation’s 45th anniversary with stories of our grantee partners, photography from our archives, and showcases the impact of donations from supporters like you.

Over the last 45 years, Astraea’s staff and partners have witnessed ups and downs, celebrations and disagreements, and both joy and struggle. Many of these memories weren’t captured on film, but they’ve added up to help build resilient, intersectional movements in feminist philanthropy. Astraea continues to ground our philanthropy model on supporting grantees with unrestricted and flexible resources, which allow movements to build capacity and strengthen their resiliency when responding to community needs, especially as the rise of populist anti-gender movements continue to threaten LGBTQI+ lives around the world.

We are proud to share that in 2022:

  • Asraea disbursed more than $5.9 million in 2022 to 230 grantee partners through 263 grants
  • Over 86% of our grantees received general operating support grants, allowing for flexibility
  • 83% of our international grantmaking went to organizations in countries with obstructed, repressed, and closing civil societies

We hope you will enjoy learning more about our approach to this work in our annual report. Sincere gratitude to all of our supporters, donors, allies, and staff members, without whom this work would not be possible.

Download and read the report.