In a world where intersex activism has been resourced on a wing and a prayer, the significance of the Astraea Intersex Human Rights Fund can not be overstated. Morgan Carpenter, of OII Australia
This Intersex Awareness Day, we are proud to announce the new Intersex Human Rights Fund 2015 grant recipients and voice our support for the activists who are leading a movement for intersex rights. The Fund awards nearly $200,000 in grants to 29 intersex-led grantee partners based in 20 counties.
What is the Astraea Intersex Human Rights Fund?
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. With the generous support of seed donors Kobi Conaway and Andrew Owen and a leadership gift from the Arcus Foundation, Astraea launched the Fund to support the resilience, creativity and growth of intersex activism and to address the dearth of funding for intersex issues and communities.
Why Intersex Rights? Why Now?
Astraea recognizes that the entrenched practice of organizing the world into the sex and gender binary has alarming and rights-violating consequences for intersex bodies. Intersex people face numerous challenges in all regions of the world. Intersex babies and children are widely subjected to non-consensual, medically unnecessary and harmful surgeries with life-long consequences, including sterilization and genital mutilation. Doctors often recommend these procedures to parents to address social anxiety and fear of stigma, rather than a concern for an intersex person’s well-being. The invisibility of intersex issues worldwide also contributes to the stigma, discrimination and violence that intersex people face.
In response, intersex activists are building an international movement and leading a push for rights and recognition around the world. “The Fund reflects the mobilization of intersex people at international, regional, national and local levels, and is informed by decades of intersex activism,” stated Ruth Baldacchino, Intersex Fund program officer at Astraea. “It is through such work that isolation is broken.”
[The] Intersex Fund is just like fresh water to live on for our movement and community. It supports and keeps us surviving and continuing to work on intersex visibility. Hiker Chiu, of OII Chinese
Intersex activists are working on translating non-pathologizing medical information into local languages, storytelling through the creation of books and documentaries, educating medical professionals, pushing for legal and policy change, and leading international human rights advocacy. From Hong Kong to Reykjavik these groups are engaged in numerous strategies to promote the rights and self-determination of intersex people.
“Astraea is thrilled to support the brilliant and visionary activism led by intersex people demanding their rights around the world,” says Sarah Gunther, Astraea’s Director of Programs. “As a funder committed to gender justice and LGBTQI liberation, we are proud to support their uncompromising demands for respect, dignity and autonomy.”
For more information on Astraea’s 2015 Intersex Fund grantees and an informative toolkit on intersex human rights, please visit our website.
Note on terminology: Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. In some cases, intersex traits are visible at birth, while in others they are not apparent until puberty. Some chromosomal intersex variations may not be physically apparent at all.
About Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. We support grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally who challenge oppression and seed social change. We work for racial, economic, social, and gender justice, because we all deserve to live our lives freely, without fear, and with dignity.
Press Kit: Astraea and Astraea Intersex Human Rights Fund