This Intersex Awareness Day, we are so proud to share our 7th grant cycle of Astraea’s Intersex Human Rights Fund (IHRF)! The first of its kind, the Intersex Human Rights Fund supports organizations, projects and campaigns led by intersex activists and organizers working to ensure the human rights, bodily autonomy, physical integrity and self-determination of intersex people worldwide. This year, we are celebrating growth and leadership – both of the incredible global intersex movement, and of the Fund and the number of organizations we are able to support—while reflecting on what has been an incredibly challenging year for intersex communities worldwide.
The Fund’s seventh round of grantmaking totaled $507,000 in grants to 53 groups, including 7 new and 46 renewals in 41 countries. This cycle, for the first time, we are supporting groups in Ecuador, Peru, Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Bangladesh, as well as our first Roma group in Serbia. With our goal to fund more sustainably, we were able to make our first 2-year-grants to 6 leading organizations in Asia (Campaign for Change in Nepal and the regional network Intersex Asia), Africa (Intersex Persons Society of Kenya and Intersex South Africa) and Latin America (Associação Brasileira de Intersexos in Brazil and Mulabi in Costa Rica).
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect intersex communities’ ability to organize, expand national, regional, and global advocacy efforts, as well as to build community with one another. Pandemic related restrictions on movement and gathering have strangled efforts to gather in-person, something that has historically been critical for often isolated and under-resourced grassroots intersex groups. In many cases, the pandemic has forced intersex groups—especially those in the Global South—to shift their work and funding to focus entirely on the humanitarian needs of their community members, particularly given the economic instability that many intersex people already faced as a result of stigma, systemic neglect, violence, harm and discrimination.
Yet, intersex communities are working day in and day out towards ensuring the human rights, and bodily autonomy, and ultimately the dignity and celebration of their people and communities. Here are just a few examples of the incredible, intersectional movement building, advocacy efforts, and campaigns our grantee partners are leading:
Roma Women of Vojvodina (Novi Bečej, Serbia) is a non-governmental and non-profit association founded in 2007 to improve the Roma population’s social development and to reduce inequality for Roma people in all aspects of society. The group’s intersex project aims to educate Roma youth about the intersex population, reduce prejudices and stereotypes of Roma youth about intersex persons, and begin the process of stopping the isolation of intersex persons.
Bangladesh Intersex Forum (BIF) (Barishal, Bangladesh) is the first organization in Bangladesh led by intersex people. BIF works to create awareness of intersex issues and support intersex people’s livelihood and human rights through capacity building, grassroots organizing, advocacy, research, and strategic litigation. More specifically, the organization empowers intersex people with the resources, support, and information they need to break the cycle of trauma that is a result of “correctional” surgeries. Since its inception in December 2020, the group has collected intersex stories from the grassroots to publish in a popular national newspaper, and has begun working to economically empower intersex people by providing them with financial resources and skills training.
Tzk’at (Sacatepéquez, Guatemala) is an indigenous feminist network set up by a Mayan lesbian. They bring the experience of ancestral healing processes and communities—they are healers, midwives, spiritual leaders and more and have both ancestral and Western knowledge of medicine and health practices. The network’s main objective is to contribute an ancestral and feminist approach to the emotional, physical and spiritual recovery of indigenous women and “cuerpos plurales”/intersex people. Tzk’at promotes an indigenous understanding of intersex embodiment and the network is currently building an intersex-led project entitled “Dialogues in Defense of Life, Territory Plural-Intersex Bodies—from Iximulew Guatemala,” which creates space for dialogues on embodiment/corporalities and intersex realities with community partners.
Please join us in celebrating all our incredible 2021 Intersex Human Rights Fund (IHRF) grantee partners building towards more just futures for intersex people, and for us all!
This Intersex Awareness Day, we are excited to have collaborated with intersex activist, illustrator, graphic designer, editor, prop maker, and set dresser Otto Etraud / Toto Duarte to create the vibrant and powerful illustration you see above titled, “Intersex People Deserve Bodily Autonomy.” Currently residing and working in one of the Alimapu hills, Valparaíso, Southern Pacific Hemisphere, Toto has managed-participated in printed art, illustration, and publishing fairs and festivals, as well as exhibited and published their own work across Chile and South America. To learn more about Toto and their work, please visit their website.
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.
Asociación Peruana de Personas Intersexuales
Associacao Brasileira de Intersexos (ABRAI)
Bangladesh Intersex Forum
Campaign for Change
Collectif Intersexes et Allié.e.s-OII France
Egalite Intersex Ukraine
Groupe Intersexe Désirs / Inter-Désirs
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Intersex Advocate Trust Zimbabwe
Intersex and Faith
Intersex Community of Zimbabwe
Intersex Human Rights Australia
Intersex Peer Support Australia
Intersex People’s Human Rights – ISIO Finland
Intersex Persons Society of Kenya
Intersex Society of Zambia
Intersex South Africa
IVIM OII Germany
Rainbow Identity Association
Rede Jacob – Apoio a Familia e Pessoa Intersexo
Roma Women of Vojvodina
kolekTIRV (ex-Trans Aid)
Trans Smart Trust
Vivir y Ser Intersex