On Voting and Visioning the Future

Right now, we’re at a crucial tipping point. LBTQI, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant communities are fighting to survive at the hands of white supremacy. And, these are the very communities securing a liberatory vision for the future.

Photo credit: TGI Justice Project

What is it you are fighting for?

Right now, we’re at a crucial tipping point. LBTQI, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant communities are fighting to survive at the hands of white supremacy. And, these are the very communities securing a liberatory vision for the future.

From its very beginnings, the United States has been a country built on slavery, settler colonialism, and extraction, yet the last four years have intensified the levels of overt violence against our communities. Time and time again, the current U.S. administration has attacked women, LBTQI, Black, Brown, immigrant, and Indigenous communities, and our most basic right to live safe, dignified, whole lives. We have seen:

  • Massive rollbacks of LBTQI rights and the appointments of racist, anti-LGBTQ+ judges.
  • Erasure of healthcare and education protections for trans people.
  • A mismanaged pandemic that has killed so many and disproportionately harmed People of Color.
  • Increased police brutality and mass criminalization of communities of Color.
  • The erosion of reproductive rights.
  • Forced sterilization of women of Color and immigrant women detainees.
  • Harsh, inhumane crackdowns on immigration.
  • People in cages at the border.
  • The greenlighting of pipelines across Native lands.
  • The denial of climate change.

The list goes on and on…

While the far right works to destroy democratic institutions, engage in authoritarian behaviour, and deny our human rights, in the United States and around the world, grassroots movements continue to dream, resist, and build the future we know is possible.

If you’re overwhelmed and exhausted, we are right here with you. But as November 3 approaches, and with the stakes higher than ever in the U.S. and globally, here’s what we know to be true:

Your vote matters: VOTE, if you can.

At Astraea we are making Election Day a paid holiday. If you are an employer in the U.S., we encourage you to do the same for your staff. Voting is by no means the only way to participate in democracy, but it is one critical way to ensure that we can elect leaders who represent us, reduce harm, make strides towards more just policies, and work to dismantle white supremacy.

For so many, voting rights still aren’t a given and voter suppression under increasingly totalitarian governments is a major global threat. In the United States, the attacks on voting rights are rooted in the ongoing disenfranchisement of Black people and other communities of Color. Globally, these kinds of attacks are part of a larger far-right movement that is well-coordinated, and well-funded, designed to control and restrict the rights and bodily autonomy of women, LGBTQI communities, and other marginalized communities at all levels.

Our movements hold the transformative vision of our future: We must continue to invest in them!

The work towards collective liberation doesn’t begin or end on Election Day—far from it. Regardless of the outcome of this U.S. election, transformative change and true justice for our communities are a long way off. Yet, when we resource those at the very center of our liberation struggles, when we invest in them over the long haul, we will build power for a brighter future.

Grassroots movements have long been working towards this alternative future: one that is rooted in joy, safety, justice, and care for us all. The Movement for Black Lives (including grantee partners Law for Black Lives, BYP100, MediaJustice, Blackbird, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and SNAPCollaborative) is constructing a future rooted in abolition. The Montana Two Spirit Society is building the leadership of queer Indigenous people. TGI Justice Project is fighting for a future free of the mass incarceration of trans People of Color. Mijente and the Immigrant Youth Coalition are part of a powerful movement that centers and celebrates all immigrants. SPARK Reproductive Justice Now! are pushing for a future in which all of us have access to our reproductive rights and freedoms. Intersex Justice Project is working towards a future in which intersex People of Color are visible and protected. And this is just a tiny glimpse into what our movements are bringing to life, through their resilience, through their advocacy, through their collective care for communities.

Our responsibility and commitment—long-term and at this pivotal moment—is to stand within the struggle, to vote when we can, and to ensure our movements have the resources they need to make this future a reality, both in the United States and around the world. At Astraea, this has been our purpose from the very beginning, to fund at the grassroots, and fuel change rooted in movement visions.

So I ask you again: On November 3 and beyond, what is it you’re fighting for?

Join Us: Fight for joy, for care, for safety for us all. Fight for transformative change. Fight for the future we know is possible.

Celebrating our 2020 Intersex Grantee Partners!

This Intersex Awareness Day, it is with great pride and excitement we share Astraea’s 6th annual cycle of Intersex Human Rights Fund (IHRF) grantee partners!

This Intersex Awareness Day, it is with great pride and excitement we share Astraea’s 6th annual cycle of Intersex Human Rights Fund (IHRF) grantee partners! On this day, we recognize the work of the incredible intersex activists and organizations whose advocacy and self-determination have built a powerful global intersex movement and visibilized the lives and experiences of intersex people everywhere.

Astraea is proud to support many of these activists through our Intersex Human Rights Fund—the first of its kind—which accounts for almost three-quarters (73%) of all grants to intersex organizations in the world. This year, the IHRF granted $480,000 in grants to 53 groups in 41 countries, with 15 of these grants going to new grantee partners. This marks a 65% increase in funding from our 2019 cycle, reaffirming our commitment to supporting the growth and sustainability of intersex movements. It has been so exciting to continue to see the emergence of new intersex-led groups, some of which were formed as a direct result of the connections built through regional movement convenings in past years!

This year, as the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the IHRF provided an additional $2000 to all our renewal intersex grantee partners. The pandemic and associated restrictions on movement have heightened the exclusion and discrimination many intersex people already face in communities around the world, and has left many without jobs, unable to access the medical and mental health services they need, and isolated from their loved ones.

Still, intersex movements have continued to be tireless in their efforts to build community solidarity, advocate for their rights to bodily integrity, raise awareness of and fight for their human rights, and collaborate across movements, issues, and regions to make their voices heard!

Here are just a few examples of the powerful ways our intersex grantees show up for their communities:

  • Círculo Violeta (Mayagüez, Puerto Rico) has created a safe space for intersex, trans, and non-binary artists who have been otherwise invisibilized and marginalized, to gather, connect, and share their experiences with each other. They exist to create a living catalogue and archive of each of their artistic practices, and to come together to build collective narratives of intersex, trans, and non-binary artists within Puerto Rico and its diasporas.
  • Potencia Intersex (Córdoba, Argentina) came together during the Second Intersex Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean. The organization was born out of the need to educate Argentinian society about the lived realities of intersex people. Working alongside feminist and LGBTQI movements in the country, the group raises awareness of the human rights violations committed against them and mobilizes people to support the bodily integrity, autonomy, and self-determination of intersex people.
  • Intersex-Nigeria (Lagos, Nigeria) was formed in 2019 by intersex people, many of whom have lived through their own pain, trauma, and stigmatization as a result of violence, non-consensual medical procedures and ongoing discrimination. The organization is the first intersex-led group in Nigeria and is working to advance public understanding of intersex people’s issues, visbilize intersex realities, and build community for intersex Nigerians. The group’s mission is to build a community space for intersex people, provide wellbeing support to intsersex Nigerians, and advocate for intersex rights.

While intersex activism has been growing around the world, intersex issues and communities remain immensely under-funded, receiving less than 2% of global foundation funding for LGBTQI people and/or women and girls. Despite this, intersex activists are continuing to tirelessly advocate against the pathologization of intersex bodies and to address issues of violence, social exclusion, and lack of access to quality health care and education. The global intersex movement is calling for protections from human rights violations experienced by intersex children, adolescents and adults across the world.

Join us in recognizing the brilliant and powerful activism of our Intersex Human Rights Fund grantee partners around the world!


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.

Associação Brasileira de Intersexos (ABRAI)
Brazil

Bilitis Resource Center Bulgaria
Bulgaria

Brújula Intersexual
Mexico

Campaign for Change
Nepal

Círculo Violeta
Puerto Rico

Collectif Intersexes et Allié-e-s -OII France (CIA-OII France)
France

Comité Visibilité Intersexe
Canada

DeGeneration Confederation
Vietnam

Egalite Intersex Ukraine
Ukraine

iCon UK
United Kingdom

INTER2
Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia

Interaction – Association Suisse pour les Intersexes
Switzerland

Intersex Advocate Trust Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe

Intersex Anatolia/ Intersex Turkey/ Intersex Shalala
Turkey

Intersex and Faith
United States

The Intersex and Family Support Network
Brazil

Intersex Asia Network
Regional

Intersex Chile
Chile

Intersex Community of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe

Intersex Danmark
Denmark

Intersexesiste
Italy

Intersex Greece
Greece

Intersex Human Rights Australia
Australia

Intersexioni
Italy

Intersex Ísland -félag intersex fólks á Íslandi
Iceland

Intersex Justice Project
United States

Intersex-Nigeria
Nigeria

Intersex Peer Support Australia
Australia

Intersex People’s Human Rights – ISIO Finland
Finland

Intersex Persons Society of Kenya – IPSK
Kenya

Intersex Society of Zambia (ISSZ)
Zambia

Intersex South Africa – ISSA
South Africa

Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ)
New Zealand

IntersexUK
United Kingdom

Ivy Foundation
Malawi

Jinsiangu
Kenya

Magda Rakita
Poland

Mulabi – Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos
Costa Rica

Organisation Intersex International Europe (OII Europe)
Regional

Organisation Intersex International Germany/IVIM (OII Deutschland)
Germany

Organization Intersex International-Chinese (Oii-Chinese)
Taiwan

OII Sverige
Sweden

Potencia Intersex
Argentina

Rainbow Identity Association
Botswana

Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development (SIPD)
Uganda

Trans Aid
Croatia

Trans Smart Trust
Zimbabwe

Tzk’at – Red de Sanadoras Ancestrales del Feminismo Comunitario
Guatemala

Verein Intersexuelle Menschen Österreich (VIMÖ)
Austria

Vivir y Ser Intersex
Mexico

XY Spectrum
Serbia

DeGenderation Confederation

DeGenderation Confederation (DGC) is a non-profit organization working with the goal of abolishing the gender norm system towards sustainable and inclusive equality in society.

DeGenderation Confederation (DGC) is a non-profit organization working with the goal of abolishing the gender norm system towards sustainable and inclusive equality in society. In order to achieve the ideal society, DGC mobilizes empowerment activities, enhances the capacity of community organizations for organizations to develop and eliminate the social construction of gender. At the same time, DGC establishes a network for joint advocacy to promote social change. In the next 5 years (2019 -2024), DGC willfocus on advocating for the rights of intersex people, and then non-binary minority groups and queers with awareness-raising activities for both community-based organizations and civil society organizations at local on the knowledge of sexual diversity and methodology of the social construction of gender. At the same time, DGC builds a space for sharing knowledge, tools and experiences to not only work together for social mobilization but also be a strong support platform for voicing inequalities and discrimination.

The Intersex and Family Support Network

The Intersex and Family Support Network serves the families of intersex people, parents and babies, children, teenagers, and particularly intersex adults.

The Intersex and Family Support Network – Jacob(y) – Rede de Apoio à Pessoa Intersexo e Família – Jacob(y) – was created after Thais Emilia; mother of an intersex baby named Jacob, who needed to be brought to São Paulo to address a congenital heart problem, however, the child ended up dying. With the network, Thais sought out core teams of caregivers (doctors and psychologists) who had in common the defense and promotion of the physical and psychological integrity of intersex babies. From this network, it was possible to accept the demands of intersex people who were unaware of their access rights to health. Some request assistance because they had sequelae from non-consensual genital surgeries they suffered in the past, or even because they lived with rare diseases that had to come to centers with more health equipment. Most of them are sent to São Paulo (Brazil) to continue treatments with specialists. The visits were made in person or remotely, especially in the last seven months due to the pandemic. This network has a partnership with ABRAI and UNIFESP, especially psychologist Dr. Mariana Telles Silveira, endocrinologist Dr. Magnus R. Dias da Silva and pediatric surgeon Dr. Mila Torii.

Potencia Intersex

Potencia intersex wants to build an organization that is able to educate society with the goal of raising awareness about the lived experience of our community, to do consciousness-raising work about the violation of human rights of intersex people, and mobilize society so that they may actively participate in the topic of bodily autonomy, physical and mental integrity, and the right for intersex people to their truth.

The group was formed within the framework of the 34th Multinational Gathering of Women and Dissidences (34° Encuentro Plurinacional de Mujeres y Disidencias) which took place in La Plata in 2019, during the “Intersexuality Workshop.” The development of this space was the result of a process that organizers began remotely through social media, and it was developed as a way to respond to certain needs that emerged in informal chats between members. All the organizers expressed the desire to work as a team, linking our individual efforts through shared projects, so that they could push and have more impact with their work, each of them from their own place of residency. During the Second Intersex Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean they consolidated their team and gave their activist group a name. They want to build an organization that is able to educate society with the goal of raising awareness about the lived experience of our community, to do consciousness-raising work about the violation of human rights of intersex people, and mobilize society so that they may actively participate in the topic of bodily autonomy, physical and mental integrity, and the right for intersex people to their truth.

Intersexesiste

Intersexesiste was formed in 2016 as a collaboration between intersex organizer Claudia Balsamo (AISIA; Agedo; IntersexEsiste) and academic allies (Daniela Crocetti and later Marta Prandelli) with the primary goals of addressing the significant lack of non-medically driven information on intersex in Italian and creating bridges between different intersex realities (including patient associations).

Intersexesiste was formed in 2016 as a collaboration between intersex organizer Claudia Balsamo (AISIA; Agedo; IntersexEsiste) and academic allies (Daniela Crocetti and later Marta Prandelli) with the primary goals of addressing the significant lack of non-medically driven information on intersex in Italian and creating bridges between different intersex realities (including patient associations).

They developed two strategies: an online platform that would provide easily understandable non-stigmatizing information on intersex experience and rights issues; and a series of interactive workshops oriented at a mix of educator and medical students and professionals (other intersex organizers participated in giving these workshops, even if not formally part of the group). The online platform included links to all Italian intersex activist groups and variation specific associations that gave us their permission to list them. In the course of 2019 and 2020, their mission has expanded in the arena of creating bridges between intersex realities, and fostering dialogue in intersex only spaces. This activity was spearheaded by the entrance of a new lead intersex member, Manuela Falzone (AISIA; IntersexEsiste; Intersex Italia FB; Intersex/dsd Italia FB) who also had experience with the patient association AISIA but wanted to expand her political reach. Manuela helped moderate two intersex only closed FB groups “intersex italia’ and ‘intersex/dsd italia’, and is interested in creating productive collaboration between different intersex realities and voices. The overall mission is to promote accurate non-stigmatizing information about intersex in Italian, in this manner also promoting bodily integrity and autonomous decision-making for intersex people in medical settings and institutions. This has taken many forms in order to reach both the general public and specialist professionals such as teachers and health care professions that have significant impacts on intersex lives. With the name ‘IntersexEsiste’ they hope to affirm the idea that if more people learn what intersex is, is a bodily variation that shouldn’t imply shame or modification, the social pressure on medics and families to modify children’s bodies will decrease. They formed the group with the intent to combine the experience of the intersex people with the knowledge of academic allies who have conducted respectful and agency-based work in the intersex field.

Intersex People’s Human Rights – ISIO Finland

The overall mission of ISIO Finland is to end stigma and discrimination and ensure intersex people’s access to their fundamental and human rights.

Intersex People’s Human Rights – ISIO Finland was founded in January 2020. Awareness-raising, education and information-sharing on intersex people’s human rights is very topical in Finland. ISIO Finland was founded to ensure that intersex people’s voice is being heard and the human rights of intersex people are being ensured at this critical moment.  

The overall mission of ISIO Finland is to end stigma and discrimination and ensure intersex people’s access to their fundamental and human rights. To achieve this goal the organisation raises awareness, networks and co-operates with relevant stakeholders and shares information and provides expertise to law and policy drafting on the human rights situation of intersex people in Finland. 

Intersex-Nigeria

The mission of Intersex-Nigeria is to create awareness about intersex through public education and social engagements, build a community space for intersex persons to co-habit, provide psychological and well-being support for intersex persons in Nigeria, and advocate for intersex rights in Nigeria.

Intersex-Nigeria was founded on 25th November, 2019. The intersex-led organization was founded by Obioma Chukwuike, an  intersex person from Nigeria who lived the pain and stigmatization meted on them for being intersex. The ugly situations of intersex population in Nigeria includes intersex genital mutation on intersex babies, violent abuse and killings of intersex persons, misogyny against intersex women, discrimination and lack of understanding of what intersex means.

Organizers decided to form the first intersex-led organization in Nigeria to create public awareness of intersex understanding, create visibility and community building for intersex persons and advocate for the rights of intersex persons which includes; rights to bodily integrity, ending stigma and discrimination, creating visibility, ending the killing of intersex babies due to cultural beliefs and ending medical intervention surgeries on intersex babies. 

The mission of the group is to create awareness about intersex through public education and social engagements, build a community space for intersex persons to co-habit, provide psychological and well-being support for intersex persons in Nigeria, and advocate for intersex rights in Nigeria.

Intersex Greece

Intersex Greece wants to spread the word widely, create visibility and protect intersex people’s rights at any age and field of life in Greece.

At 2009 Rinio Simeonidou gave birth to her intersex child, after she was intensively asked/been forced (by two ignorant, homophobic doctors) to terminate in the 5th month and refused. While realizing “intersex” was totally unheard/invisible/unknown in Greece and full pathologized to the extend to press parents to terminate, she started searching in the internet and eventually found and connected with few other parents of intersex kids and a few intersex adults too (first with Lakis Kandylis), with whom she formed the first Greek intersex facebook group. Today, via this group, they are in contact with about 60 families/persons, from all over Greece and support them by peer-to-peer info sharing. They want to spread the word widely, create visibility and protect intersex people’s rights at any age and field of life in Greece. To achieve this, they want/need to create an inclusive, national NGO for intersex people that live in Greece, no matter of nationality, economical status or any other diversity (sex, gender, sexual orientation, colour, religion, economical status, etc).

Overall, they want to create awareness and inclusion for intersex people, so to be legally recognized by the greek laws as a natural state of human beings, having equal rights with men/women. They also want to legally ban cosmetic (non-medical necessary) genital surgeries to intersex babies and children, until they reach an age capable of informed consent.  They want to be able to provide support to new parents-to-be, or to parents of intersex children and peer-to-peer support to intersex individuals. They want their voices to be as formal as possible, so to be heard by the state and its formal entities (education leaders, health leaders, policy makers, religion leaders and anyone in civil/policy command in Greece). Article 7 of the Draft Law on gender reassignment surgeries of the Legislative Committee of the Ministry of Justice prohibited explicitly non-therapeutic surgeries on intersex infants but it was disappeared before reaching the Parliament. Currently, Law 4491/2017 on gender reassignment surgeries includes only the definition of “sex characteristics” in its preamble leaving intersex people legally unrecognised.

 

Intersex Anatolia/ Intersex Turkey/ Intersex Shalala

Intersex Turkey voluntarily works for advocacy among LGBTI+ related events.

The intersex rights started to be discussed in Turkey among transgender movement around 2010-2011. A transgender organizer Ali Gül, lost to cancer since then, was one of the initiators. Due to the lack of human resources, the intersex movement cannot be strengthen itself and it is still supported by LGBTI+ organizations. The three organizers voluntarily work for advocacy among LGBTI+ related events. Although there are more intersex people that they know, those people are working as civil servant or they are not ready to come out to public; therefore, they are not that active in the field. The overall mission of the group is to raise awareness on intersex rights.