Honoring and Uplifting the Resilience of Trans Communities this #TDOR

The best way to honor trans lives is to disrupt anti-trans violence, uplifting the resilience of trans communities, their diversity, brilliance and generativity, and supporting the work of trans activists on the frontlines. To do that, we must resource trans communities.

This Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), we honor and hold close the trans and gender nonconforming people who have been lost to senseless violence. What began as a way to memorialize the death of Rita Hester, who was murdered on November 28, 1998, has grown into a global moment to highlight the violence trans communities still face today.

Trans people have always existed. However, the contributions of Black trans and gender-nonconforming folks like Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major, and Zazu Nova have been largely ignored. Social justice movements have also often ignored the impacts of transphobia on trans communities, particularly Black and Indigenous trans folks, including epidemic levels of violence, heightened levels of unemployment and disproportionate levels of educational and health barriers.

The best way to honor trans lives is to disrupt anti-trans violence, uplifting the resilience of trans communities, their diversity, brilliance and generativity, and supporting the work of trans activists on the frontlines. To do that, we must resource trans communities to organize for fair healthcare, increased economic opportunities, safe housing, and gender-affirming education.

As funders, we also need to acknowledge that incremental approaches to movement building that prioritize certain identities over others are doing a disservice to trans communities, especially to Black trans women. There can be no Black Lives Matter without centering the needs of Black trans women. 

How can funders show up for trans and racial liberation? 

  • Develop political education curriculums within institutions 

Developing political education curriculums within funding institutions is critical to reducing the harm trans people of color face. Funders need to apply an intersectional and holistic social justice framework as they confront the disproportionate levels of violence that plague trans communities worldwide, acknowledge that the state and the prison industrial complex are the main perpetrators of harm, and work to address that harm.

  • Repair, heal & unlearn savior complexes

As funders, our role is to support and resource trans communities, rather than lead or define the goals of the movement. We must bolster trans people’s work, but never take credit for it. Our funding decisions ultimately have real-life consequences for trans people.

  • Trust trans leadership 

In order to shift power, it is crucial to trust and support grassroots trans leadership. Groups should have the freedom to choose how to use their funding and develop their own agendas, strategies and financial structures based on their own needs and priorities.

  • Assemble multi-racial trans panels to make funding decisions

Thoughtfully assemble a geographically diverse, intergenerational, multi-ability, multi-racial panel of trans individuals to review applications and select grantees and award amounts. Trans people are the experts of their own lives and experiences–they are the most qualified to make decisions with and for their communities.

  • Deepen multi-year, flexible commitments to support grassroots groups

Some of the most radical, transformative social justice work is being done by trans-led groups, especially those who are stifled by class and racial barriers. It is imperative to intentionally commit to multi-year funding for these groups to support them long-term.

The events of the past couple months have created new space for funders–Astraea included–to rethink our roles in the larger social justice ecosystem. As important as recent shifts and recognition of trans people, especially Black trans women, have been, we funders still have an incredibly long way to go.

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

Introducing our Women’s Voice and Leadership Caribbean grantees!

In partnership with the Equality Fund, we are delighted to announce our first ever Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Caribbean grantee cohort!

In partnership with the Equality Fund, we are delighted to announce our first ever Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Caribbean grantee cohort! Astraea has been proud to support feminist, LBTQI-led grassroots organizing in the region for several years now, and we are excited to expand our support and continue to build feminist power in the Caribbean thanks to this blossoming collaboration!

Over the next three years, a total of USD $881,964 ($1,174,058 Canadian dollars) will be granted to 27 outstanding women’s rights and LBTQI organizations from eight CARICOM countries − Jamaica, Belize, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Suriname.

WVL-Caribbean grantee partners include emerging and established organizations operating in both rural areas and urban settings, representing young women, indigenous women, sex workers, and the LBTQI community. These organizations are working at the intersections of gender-based violence, economic justice, feminist leadership, LBTQI rights, climate change, and more.

From documenting and capturing the realities of lesbian and bisexual women to helping to create safe communities for LBTQI people, each of our WVL grantees plays a critical role in the region’s larger feminist ecosystem. Here are just a few examples of their incredible activism:

  • LEZ Connect, Saint Lucia: LEZ Connect raises awareness on LBT women’s issues and educates the public on the rights of LBT women. They work to create a safe environment for LBTQ women and put an end to violence against women. The group’s main goal is to build and solidify a stronger LBT community within the LGBT population in St. Lucia, and work towards ending violence against LBT women.
  • Guyana Trans United, Guyana: Guyana Trans United was originally formed in 2012 when trans organizers in Guyana fought police brutality against trans sex workers. The organization works to improve the quality of life for transgender Guyanese and to ensure that their rights are recognised in all domains through human rights advocacy by promoting respect and acceptance within the larger society, with the intention to create communities free from violence, prejudice, discrimination, and other negative and adverse conduct against trans people.
  • Our Circle, Belize: Our Circle was founded in 2013 out of the need for a safe, supportive space for LGBT couples, parents, and families in Belize. As LGBT families are currently not legally recognized in Belize, the mission of Our Circle is to advance legal and lived equality for diverse families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change.

Please join us in celebrating the work of these incredible grantee partners who are working to leave a lasting legacy for women’s and LBTIQ movements in the Caribbean, and read more about their work in the links below.

____________________________________________

Meet Our WVL-Caribbean Grantee Partners:

Belize
Our Circle
Promoting Empowerment Through Awareness for Lesbian and Bisexual Women (PETAL)

Guyana
Guyana RainBow Foundation
Guyana Trans United
Women’s Wednesdays Guyana

Jamaica
WE-Change

Regional
CariFLAGS

Saint Lucia
LEZ Connect

Suriname
Women’S Way Foundation Suriname

____________________________________________

Join our cross-sectoral, multi-generational WVL Caribbean Regional Launch Dialogue taking place today, Thursday September 24 featuring Astraea’s Kerry-Jo Lyn and Equality Fund’s Amina Doherty! Register here

 

Mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We have indeed lost a giant, a feminist icon, and a visionary jurist.

The recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) is a devastating loss for the people of the United States. Astraea recognizes her formidable legacy as a lawyer for the ACLU and a Supreme Court Justice. Throughout her career, RBG championed and staunchly defended reproductive freedom, women’s rights, and the rights of women and LGBTQI people, recognizing the right of employees to work without fear of discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. She helped pave the way for generations of activists and legal advocates. 

We have indeed lost a giant, a feminist icon, and a visionary jurist. As we mourn the loss of such an important figure in history, we are reminded that the fight for justice – for women, for LGBTQI people, for Black, Brown, migrant, and Indigenous people – is far from over. While her legal work was instrumental in protecting the rights of so many, we know that centering  Indigenous people’s rights and the fight for racial justice must be at the forefront of our activism. This moment then calls on us both to celebrate her life, work, and legacy and to fight harder than ever for justice and dignity for all.  

Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s abolitionist sentiment she noted, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice” adding, “if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion.” RBG would want us to get back to work! Today and always, we stand behind our 42 year mission to fuel local and global movements that shift power to the LBTQI grassroots. As we in the U.S. move forward from this loss, we must support and look to movement leaders and activists on the ground – from Black Lives Matter to the climate justice movement led by Indigenous activists  –  advocating for equality for all, and continuing RBG’s legacy with a vision for a truly liberated future – one where we not only belong, but thrive.

Below are some resources on understanding RBG and her triumphs, imperfections, and lasting legacy.

Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: Our LBQ Report is finally here!

We are delighted to launch our new report, Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements, in partnership with peer feminist fund Mama Cash.

We are delighted to launch our new report, Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements, in partnership with peer feminist fund Mama Cash.

Lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ)* movements are doing essential work around the world, and this global moment reflects their leadership. As Black Lives Matter movements push to dismantle racism and white supremacy, the grassroots abolition-centered work of many Black LBQ organizers has been a galvanizing force. As communities grapple with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, LBQ groups are providing critical mutual aid, collective care support, and creative movement-building strategies to meet the moment.

With data from 378 activists in 97 countries and 67 donors across philanthropy, Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced documents LBQ activists’ priorities and the current lack of resourcing for their work, and makes a powerful case for why increased and more effective funding is crucially needed.

As Astraea, our lesbian feminist roots and ethos are core to our work and the funding principles that guide us. In 1977, our founding mothers—a cross-class, multi-racial group of women activists—came together to fund a burgeoning women’s movement centering the leadership of lesbians and women of color, who had long been at the forefront of so many social justice movements but whose work had gone under-resourced and under-recognized.

Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced is in many ways a continuation of that vision. It is a celebration of the growing, vibrant LBQ movements that are pushing for transformative change—across and at the intersections of gender, racial, environmental, and economic justice. It is simultaneously an urgent call to philanthropy to commit to investing in the LBQ movements advancing this radical politics of liberation for us all.

We are so grateful to have been able to collaborate on this report with Mama Cash, as well as with the LBQ activists, advisors, and donors whose contributions have been invaluable. As you work your way through its colorful pages, we hope that you are inspired and called to resource the powerful and vital work of the LBQ movements changing the world.

*Following a year-long consultation with activists, “LBQ” is the term used throughout the report. LBQ focuses on sexual identity and is inclusive of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women, both cisgender and trans, and all non-binary people on the gender spectrum who relate to a lesbian, bisexual, and/or queer identity

Read it online

Introducing Astraea’s newest board members!

On behalf of the entire Astraea Board of Directors and staff, it is with great excitement that we introduce you to Astraea’s four newest board members!

Dear friends,

On behalf of the entire Astraea Board of Directors and staff, it is with great excitement that we introduce you to Astraea’s four newest board members!

Astraea is in a pivotal moment as we build towards our vision for the organization’s future—one that is anti-racist and takes an intersectional feminist lens; centers transformative and distributive leadership; continues to push the boundaries of philanthropy; and of course, keeps resourcing the work of powerful grassroots LBTQI movements around the world.

Our newest board members reflect those very values and commitments through their own work, lived experiences, and leadership. We are so pleased to welcome Ana Conner, Naa Hammond, Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, and Alison Riley to the Astraea board, and we look forward to adding their voices and perspectives.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Astraea’s newest board members! We look forward to working and building with them in the months and years to come.

With warm regards,

Iimay Ho and Eboné Bishop
Co-Chairs, Astraea Board of Directors

Meet our newest board members!

Ana Conner

is the Co-Executive Director of Third Wave Fund, an activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans folks under the age of 35 in the US. Before Third Wave Fund, they were at Borealis Philanthropy, supporting the Transforming Movements Fund and Black-led Movement Fund, and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, working on the Development Team. [Read more]

Naa Hammond

is a Black, African, immigrant, queer femme, and a Senior Program Officer with Groundswell Fund, a public foundation that strengthens U.S. movements for reproductive and social justice. Over the last decade, Naa has worked in development and grassroots fundraising with several U.S. organizations committed to gender, racial and economic justice, including FIERCE, Third Wave Fund, Queers for Economic Justice, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. [Read more]

Ilana Landsberg-Lewis

is a deeply committed human rights advocate. After practicing labor and human rights law in Canada, she spent eight years at the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on human rights and as the CEDAW Advisor at HQ. In 2003, Ilana co-founded and served for 17 years as the Executive Director of The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) – an organization established to support community-based organizations that were – and continue to be – at the heart of the response to the AIDS pandemic. [Read more]

Alison Riley

is a veteran creative director specializing in creative leadership. She has over twenty years experience building and leading large, diverse teams and providing creative strategy, relevant storytelling, and integrated advertising for global businesses. She currently consults with artists and brands on defining their mission, strategic development, and creative expression. She works most tirelessly to ensure the creative integrity and equitable representation of independent creative clients. [Read more]

Yesterday’s SCOTUS victory and the long road ahead

Today, we take a moment to recognize and celebrate the United States Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision to uphold protections for LGBTQI people in the workplace.

Dear Friends,

Today, we take a moment to recognize and celebrate the United States Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision to uphold protections for LGBTQI people in the workplace. The ruling is a historic one for the entire LGBTQI community, and specifically marks the most sweeping legal protections for trans communities in U.S. Supreme Court history.

Until yesterday, it was still legal to fire people for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in more than half of U.S. states. SCOTUS ruled that firing employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination that violates federal law. As we shared in our October statement, the cases leading to yesterday’s ruling were cited as the single most important set of explicitly LGBT cases to reach the Supreme Court because they encompassed both sexual orientation and gender identity, and so impact the livelihoods of all LGBTQI people and women in the United States.

However, as we take a moment to find joy and relief in this victory, we know that the fight for justice is far from over. The very fact that three cases in 2020 even questioned whether it is lawful to fire someone simply for being LGBTQI, is evidence that many in the US continue to believe that LGBTQI people are not entitled to the same protections as our cisgender and/or heterosexual counterparts.

The ruling itself comes on the heels of the U.S. administration’s recent decision to revoke protections for trans people experiencing discrimination in the healthcare system, as well as a surge in violence against trans women and transphobic discourse online. We know that trans and gender non conforming (TGNC) people, TGNC people of color, and especially Black trans women are already disproportionately impacted by discrimination in the workplace leading to higher incidents of poverty and poor health. For many, these protections are a small win in the larger struggle to secure legitimacy and right to life.

Nationwide anti-racism and anti-policing protests are entering their fourth week with demonstrations in support of Black Trans Lives drawing thousands across the country this past weekend and speaking to the disproportionate harm faced by Black trans people. These uprisings and the forward movements we’re seeing are the culmination of decades of powerful movement building by anti-racism, abolitionist, and gender justice activists. Yet, just this week, SCOTUS declined to take up qualified immunity, despite consistent calls by BLM and other organizers for this issue—along with wider calls for defunding policing—to be considered by the courts.

All this is of course taking place amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic which continues to have an undue impact on Black, Brown, Indigenous, and TGNC communities in the United States. There is much work to be done, and if this ruling is to signal the wide reaching legitimacy and right for TGNC people to exist and thrive, we must continue to resource, center and build on the critical work of grassroots TGNC, Black and POC-led organizing.

We express our deep appreciation for all the lawyers, activists, and others in the LGBTQI community who led us to this SCOTUS victory. Simultaneously, we lift up the work of all—particularly the Black, Brown, Indigenous, and trans-led grassroots organizations—who continue to work towards ending discrimination and violence in every form, ultimately pushing for our collective liberation.

In Solidarity,
Sandy Nathan

Donate

 

 

Read more:

Today and everyday, Black Lives Matter

For over 40 years Astraea has stood in solidarity with Black movements and communities in the United States, and today we stand united in our grief, anger, and outrage. These are not isolated incidents but part of a much larger and coordinated strategy to enforce white supremacy at the expense of Black life. We condemn the racism, discrimination, policing, transphobia, and state violence that would have Black people erased. 

Dear Astraea community,

Nina Pop. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. David McAttee. James Scurlock. 

We will not stand silent in the face of such violence. As Black people, we face daily attacks on our dignity, safety, and basic survival. For over 40 years Astraea has stood in solidarity with Black movements and communities in the United States, and today we stand united in our grief, anger, and outrage. These are not isolated incidents but part of a much larger and coordinated strategy to enforce white supremacy at the expense of Black life. We condemn the racism, discrimination, policing, transphobia, and state violence that would have Black people erased. 

Today and everyday, BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

Our people are resilient and powerful. Demonstrators are rising up and fighting for an end to state-sanctioned violence and police brutality, taking a stand for Black life. As a queer feminist funder based in the United States, we owe our existence to the civil and human rights activism of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color, trans, and queer movements that have come before us. We are reminded this June that Pride month itself began as a riot against policing led by trans women of color, for our collective liberation. These are our foundations, the legacy on which we build to ensure Black liberation. 

“Anti-Black racism and white supremacy are the bedrock of every single social injustice we aim to address. Be it housing, education, wages, gender justice, civic engagement, LGBTQI freedom, immigration, hunger, poverty, culture, you name it. My call to philanthropy: Fund racial justice. Fund the hell out of it.” wrote Astraea Board Member Will Cordery in Nonprofit Quarterly on Monday. 

We are called to show up radically and compassionately at this moment. We call on every single person, including all in philanthropy, to do the same.

  • Center abolitionist work and divest from police and prisons
    Our vision for liberation is grounded in prison abolition, and aims to transform the very conditions of white supremacy that lead to oppressive, anti-Black, violent systems of policing and incarceration. Now is the time to divest from the police and prisons, and invest in building safe, healthy and thriving communities where we are accountable to each other. Many Black and POC-led grassroots organizations that Astraea is proud to partner with uphold an abolitionist vision of liberation, challenging the state’s reliance on policing and surveillance to resolve conflict, and building alternative forms of safety. They are the future
  • Resource healing justice, collective care and repair work
    Integrate and uphold abolition, healing justice, and holistic security as values that sustain life, safety, and wellbeing. Many queer, trans, two-spirit, Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities and organizations are creating interdependent networks of care so that they don’t need to rely on the state for safety. Support that work.
  • Honor and protect Black trans and LGBQI lives
    As we mourn the violence against Black people across the country, we are reminded that Black trans people are killed at disproportionate rates. In 2019, the death toll of trans people—made up mostly of Black trans women—was so high that the American Medical Association declared it an epidemic. Just in May of this year, we lost Nina Pop, a 28 year old Black trans woman in Missouri and Tony McDade, a Black trans man in Florida to transphobia and brutal police violence. Say their names.
  • Give at the grassroots, including in solidarity with protestors
    Fund Black-led organizing in your community. Support Black-owned businesses. Contribute to bail funds across the country to support the release of protestors defending Black lives. Many of Astraea’s grantees play critical roles in this ecosystem of liberation; please support them and connect with them in any way you can. Our role as a funder and as community members is to ensure that we are building power at the grassroots. 

Struggles for Black communities—especially Black trans, and gender non-conforming (GNC) people—and LGBQI communities are intersectional and interconnected; anti-racism is essential to our collective liberation. Many of Astraea’s U.S. based Black trans and GNC-led grantees are on the frontlines doing this work, while also responding to the needs of their communities as a result of COVID-19, a crisis that has disproportionately impacted Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities.

The work of anti-racism and the abolition of white supremacy will not happen overnight. We must dream beyond dismantling “whiteness” and towards systems of material, emotional and spiritual repair, towards joyful struggle, and towards true liberation where all people have dignity, safety, security and life. Beyond this moment of collective grief and outrage, we commit to listening to and learning from Black social justice activists and educators, and to resourcing the Black-led movements working for radical change and healing justice. 

Standing side by side in grief, strength and solidarity,

Sandy Nathan
Interim Executive Director

Introducing our latest U.S. Fund Grantee Partners!

We’re delighted to be sharing our latest round of U.S. Fund grants with all of you! This year we gave $1,639,000 to 49 organizations across 18 states and Puerto Rico.

Photo credit: TGI Justice Project

We’re delighted to be sharing our latest round of U.S. Fund grants with all of you! As we all know, our world is a very different place from when we made these grants, and our communities are working perhaps more tirelessly than ever before to care for each other, and advocate and protect justice and equal rights for all. 

This year we gave $1,639,000 to 49 organizations across 18 states and Puerto Rico. Over 99% of this funding went to LGBTQI People of Color and gender non-conforming led organizations working for racial, economic, gender, migrant, and reproductive justice.

The COVID-19 crisis is highlighting and exacerbating long-standing structural inequities and laying bare the devastating effects of capitalism. Yet LGBTQI, Black, Brown, migrant, and Indigenous communities in the United States, like many of our grantee partners, have always been at the forefront of liberatory activism because these are the communities most impacted, yet most resilient in their fight for justice!

Working in creative and dynamic ways across movements and issues, here are just a few of the strategies our grantees are using to work towards our collective liberation:

  • Ensuring access to housing for queer and trans youth: The Providence Youth Student Movement’s Queer Transformative Roots program launched its Emergency Housing Network for queer and trans youth of color in Providence and throughout the state. Rooted in abolition, their housing justice work centers sustainable cooperative housing systems for queer and trans communities of color.
  • Creating powerful spaces to advance and demand reproductive justice: SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW is launching their first national conference JusticeNOW2020 later this year, a cross-movement power building and power shifting conference for the advancement of reproductive justice. Bringing together activists, advocates, artists, movement leaders, organizers, community members, students, educators, medical professionals, attorneys, policy makers, public health professionals, researchers, scientists, and funders, the conference is an opportunity for those across many issues to unite around reproductive rights.
  • Working towards safe and smooth reintegration for LGBTQ+ people returning home from prison: Black and Pink opened ‘Lydon House’, the first non-state controlled transitional community housing for LGBTQ+ people who are returning home from prison. The home will impact thousands of LGBTQ+ people in Nebraska, providing shelter, hot meals, and a community space for individuals to come together.
  • Providing critical medical, legal, bail, and direct service support for refugees: As part of the LA for Refugees working group, the Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC) has been working in partnership with the Central American Resource Center. The LA for Refugees working group was formed in response to the growing number of migrant caravans, and IYC has now facilitated 10 trips to the Southern border to support refugees by ensuring they have access to professional medical and legal expertise, as well as basic supplies. 

      Please join us in celebrating the work of these inspiring grantee partners, and read more about their work in the links below.*


      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.

      APIENC (API Equality – Northern California)
      California

      Audre Lorde Project
      New York

      Black Alliance for Just Immigration
      National

      Black and Brown Workers Cooperative
      Pennsylvania

      Black and Pink
      National

      Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project
      National

      Black Trans Media
      New York

      Blackbird
      National

      Bold Futures
      New Mexico

      BreakOUT New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice
      Louisiana

      BYP100 Education Fund
      National

      Communities United for Police Reform
      New York

      Community United Against Violence, Inc.
      California

      El/La Para Translatinas
      California

      Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
      California

      Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
      National

      Freedom to Thrive
      National

      Garden of Peace Project
      Pennsylvania

      Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network Southeast
      Southeast

      Girls for Gender Equity
      New York

      Immigrant Youth Coalition
      California

      Invisible to Invincible (“i2i”): API Pride of Chicago
      Illinois

      Law for Black Lives
      New York

      MediaJustice
      California

      Mijente
      National

      Montana Two Spirit Society
      Montana

      National Network of Abortion Funds
      National

      National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network
      National

      Out in the Open
      Vermont

      Peacock Rebellion
      California

      Power Inside
      Maryland

      Project South and members of the Southern Movement Assembly
      Georgia

      Providence Youth Student Movement
      Rhode Island

      Queer & Trans People of Color Birthwerq Project
      Washington

      Racial Justice Action Center, (SNaP Co and Women on the Rise)
      Georgia

      SisterReach
      Tennessee

      SisterSong
      Georgia

      Somos Familia
      California

      Southern Vision Alliance
      North Carolina

      Southerners on New Ground
      Georgia

      SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW
      Georgia

      Stonewall Youth
      Washington

      The Knights and Orchids Society
      Alabama

      Trans Queer Pueblo
      Arizona

      Trans(forming)
      Georgia

      Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable and Empowering
      Alabama

      Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project
      California

      Women With a Vision
      Louisiana

      By supporting Astraea, you are creating ecosystems of resistance that are smart, effective, and unique. Join us!

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