Astraea Quarterly Update

It is a dynamic time for us at the organization, so we wanted to reflect and share some of the recent highlights.

We at Astraea have been up to so much these last few months; we’ve been so many places, and had so many opportunities to build with our incredible partners and peers, funders and allies. It is a dynamic time for us at the organization, so we wanted to reflect and share some of the recent highlights. We organized our first Healing Justice funder convening, supported radical LBQ-led organizing at the Global LBQ Conference in South Africa, and so much more, all the while advocating for more resources for brilliant grassroots LGBTQI activism around the world!


Here’s What We’ve Been Up To


Photo: The convening’s crew of healers; Credit: Amarilis Torres Carrasquillo

Power and Resistance in Puerto Rico

Earlier this summer, we co-hosted a “Freedom from Violence and Criminalization Convening” for U.S. and Puerto Rico-based grantee partners along with Borealis Philanthropy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The convening was a generative space for participants to engage in political dialogue, radically re-envision what public safety could look like in communities of color and learn more about emerging movements and structural alternatives, including local organizing work in Puerto Rico. We loved hearing from the participants on their experiences at the convening and what it meant for them to be in Puerto Rico, and we’ve captured some of those conversations in this blog post.


Photo: Organizers strategize in Puerto Rico; Credit: Celiany Rivera Velázquez

Understanding Movement Responses To Technology and Criminalization

Our two-day data analysis strategy meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico delved into the findings of our participatory landscape research which maps trends in digital organizing, security, and technology, including issues of surveillance and the broader criminalization of BIPOC, women, queer, Two-Spirit & trans communities. Discussions centered around the existing political and technological realities shaping the experience of movement organizers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and the strategies they employ to survive, organize, and subvert criminalization and surveillance. Our research project is being spearheaded in collaboration with Research Action Design (RAD). Stay tuned for its launch in the Spring of 2020!


Photo: Healing Justice Funder Convening panelists and organizers pose for a group photo; Credit: Simone Williams Photography

Funding Towards Healing and Liberation

On May 16 in New York, Astraea held a Healing Justice Funder Convening. We brought together 60 funders from 30 philanthropic institutions, alongside 15 organizers and healing practitioners, to strategize about how we can bolster our movements by funding healing justice work. At a time when our communities are facing an onslaught of violence and oppression, the convening was a critical opportunity for funders to discuss how healing justice can promote collective safety and build the power and resilience of movements. Catch up on the brilliance participants shared here.


Photo: Astraea Program Officers and Astraea donor Ise Bosch at the Global Feminist LBQ Women’s* Conference; Credit: Astraea archives

Centering Radical LBQ Movement-Building

In July, we attended the first Global Feminist LBQ Women’s* Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa! It was a fantastic opportunity to see the fruits of a conference we have been honored to support, and to connect with 30 of our brilliant grantee partners from around the world. Our Program Officers Mariam, Ruth, Lame, Brenda, and Shaena attended as well as some of our wonderful board members and donors. This year’s key themes were ‘Leading, Healing, Transforming’ and we took part in conversations on issues such as queer feminist leadership and accountability within movements, addressing toxic workplace cultures, and the state of intersex organizing globally, as well as witnessed some incredible trans and non-binary organizing. Mariam presented on a panel “Igniting Resources for LBQ Activism”. We’re excited to be part of this global movement furthering LBQ activism globally.


Photo: Participants at the Africa Regional Intersex Convening; Credit: Africa Intersex Movement

Supporting Pan-African Activism

We participated in UHAI-EASHRI’s Changing Faces, Changing Spaces VII, a biennial Pan-African LGBTQI and sex worker convening. Prior to the main conference, Astraea helped to coordinate an Africa Intersex meeting, with a team led entirely by African intersex activists. The meeting resulted in the launch of the first Africa Intersex Regional group, known as the Africa Intersex Movement (AIM). Congratulations to all the African intersex activists who were involved!

Astraea Program Officers Lame and Peter also led a donor-focused healing justice plenary panel along with Urgent Action Fund-Africa and Hivos, and our Intersex Fund Program Officer Ruth facilitated a lively workshop session on the importance of intersectional feminist funding approaches.


Photo: WVL Caribbean Convening participants and organizers; Credit: Astraea archives/MATCH Fund

Strengthening Caribbean Feminist Leadership with the MATCH Fund

The MATCH Fund and Astraea hosted a two day convening to kick-off our new collaboration as part of Women’s Voice and Leadership – Caribbean. We gathered 25 partners and representatives from women’s organizations and LBTQI groups from around the region to develop and expand the thinking around the program and ensure it responds to the priorities of groups in the region. Women’s Voice & Leadership – Caribbean is a five year initiative for the region supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to strengthen women’s organizations and movements in about 30 countries around the world. We are so excited to keep strategizing with MATCH and support incredible LBTQI organizing in the Caribbean!


Photo: One of two Astraea t-shirt designs; Artist: Amir Khadar

Astraea Swag for Justice!

To celebrate the radical roots of Pride and our commitment to the sustainability of grassroots movements for justice, Astraea worked with the artist Amir Khadar (who also designed our beautiful Healing Justice report!) to design three new t-shirts (and stickers!) supporting Healing Justice and Queer Liberation. We really love the shirts, and we think you will too, so get yours through this link. All proceeds will support Astraea’s mission to resource LGBTQI grassroots activism in the U.S. and around the world.


Want to support LGBTQI communities globally? Join us!

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Fighting for Freedom in Puerto Rico

In May 2019, we co-hosted a “Freedom from Violence and Criminalization Convening” for U.S. and Puerto Rico-based grantee partners along with Borealis Philanthropy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We interviewed some of Astraea’s grantee partners in attendance about what it meant for a convening on freedom from violence and criminalization to take place in Puerto Rico.

Photo: The Freedom from Violence and Criminalization organizers and attendees; Credit: Amarilis Torres Carrasquillo

By Brenda Salas Neves (Senior Program Officer) and Mihika Srivastava (Communications Program Associate)

Over the last few months, the strength and power of the Puerto Rican movement has gained momentum. In July, widespread protests and massive mobilizations against government corruption, disinvestment in public goods caused by the debt crisis, and the state’s inadequate response to hurricane recovery efforts, led to the resignation of Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosello. We at Astraea continue to be in awe and inspired by the resistance and resilience of the communities and organizers in Puerto Rico.  

In May 2019, we co-hosted a “Freedom from Violence and Criminalization Gathering” for U.S. and Puerto Rico-based grantee partners along with Borealis Philanthropy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The decision to host this convening in Puerto Rico was intentional because we felt it important to recognize movement work on the islands, and to deepen our collective understanding of the work that is happening beyond the U.S. that resists and transforms state violence and hyper-criminalization of our people. Organizing and movement work in Puerto Rico today is building on a long history of resistance, and is deeply rooted in cultural and political traditions against colonization and militarism.

From transformative justice and budget advocacy sessions to breakout sessions led by organizers, the convening offered a generative space for participants to continue building connections and deepening their visions for what safety and justice looks like in communities of color in the U.S and in Puerto Rico. Through cultural programming organized by our Puerto Rican grantee partner Circuito Queer, participants learned about the political, social, and cultural situation on the archipelago, and witnessed some of the incredible cultural tools that Puerto Rican organizers are utilizing to build power. We received opening blessings from a local Taino elder, Kukuya, grounding participants in local healing traditions. Holistic wellness was woven throughout the programming, from sessions led by facilitators, Erica Woodland and Monique Meadow, to healing offerings such as massage, cuping, tarot reading, and acupuncture by local healers and practitioners. These were critical for organizers who often experience burnout and trauma as a result of ongoing state violence and oppression.

We interviewed some of Astraea’s grantee partners in attendance like MediaJustice (California), Law for Black Lives (National), Familia TQLM (California), and CIRQ (Puerto Rico) about what it meant for a convening on freedom from violence and criminalization to take place in Puerto Rico.

Astraea: Celiany, as a Puerto Rican activist who organized much of the local cultural programming for this convening, why was it important for you to connect some of the work here?

Celiany Rivera, CIRQ: A lot of what we’ve been doing at this convening is coordinating the cultural schedule as well as connecting the convening organizers with local Puerto Rican queer and trans healers. For us, it’s been an opportunity to showcase and share the queer and Black-centered art that is happening in Puerto Rico in a de-colonial context. We’ve tried to customize the experience of the participants so that they can get a sense of what some of the struggles are locally. 

One of the events we coordinated that was very special to me was a dinner for participants with 21 activists who work locally on LGBTQ, racial justice, and healing justice issues. Plena Combativa was one of the groups that joined us, and is a Puerto Rican queer women-centred protest music group who performed at the end of the evening. I think this gave folks a perspective of who the people, colors, and flavors are that compose the activism and art happening in Puerto Rico. It was also an opportunity for local organizers who don’t always get to meet outside of organizing spaces to connect without an agenda and just build relationships.

Astraea: Steven and Marbre, what did you know about the Puerto Rican organizing arena before you got here?

Steven Renderos, MediaJustice: I was familiar with the work that the diaspora had done in the U.S. around Puerto Rican independence, but not so much with the work here in Puerto Rico itself. This is actually my first time visiting the island, but I think what I was aware of is that some of the issues that we work on today around surveillance were things that activists here have been dealing with since the Puerto Rican student movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and some of the organizing around those struggles has definitely influenced how we have developed some of our own work around high tech surveillance.

Marbe Stahly-Butts, Law for Black Lives: I had only been here once before on a business trip. I think what became clear to me was that a lot of the forces that we’re fighting against whether in New York City or in the South are at the extreme here in Puerto Rico, especially fights against capitalism and extraction. So I knew the broad strokes of what was happening; for example, the incredible organizing responses to the man made climate disasters that have been happening here. I was also acutely aware of the ways that business interests in the US and abroad are using Puerto Rico as a place to profit in the wake of these disasters.

Astraea: Umi, why did it feel particularly important for you to be at this convening strategizing around freedom from violence in Puerto Rico?

Umí Vera, Familia TQLM: For us it’s really important to connect with some of our coalition partners that are here that we’ve been building with, but also to connect with local community organizers here in Puerto Rico. It’s really important for us to get to share with one another about what our lessons learned in the work we’ve been doing, at both the local and national levels. I’ve been very influenced by a lot of Puerto Rican movement building and artists collectives on the mainland and I’ve heard a lot about the context of colonization on the island from some of our community members that are Puerto Rican, so I was excited to bear witness to that a little more, and see the work that they’ve been building out here. 

Astraea: Marbe, how do you feel like we and CIRQ as the convening organizers brought Puerto Rico into the space and how did that impact your experience?

Marbre: This was one of the most intentional openings around honoring the space we’re in, the land that we stand on, and the history that brought us here, as well as the connections that we all bring from our own lands, and it really set the tone for the convening.

I have been particularly struck by two things: one is the intentionality around language here and making sure that there isn’t a language that feels like it’s dominant language. Our struggles are international, multilingual ones, but we are so often in language silos. I was also struck by the fact that it felt like half the room were folks from Puerto Rico who work here. So often there’s only one person who speaks on behalf of thousands in a community but this felt far more intentional and holistic, where organizers from the mainland and Puerto Rico were equally involved, engaged, and invested.

Astraea: Steven, how has it affected your experience to be here on this colonized land where issues of freedom from violence and criminalization are felt in such a real way?

Steven: You know within MediaJustice we often talk about this concept of targeting universalism, this idea that if we hone in on solutions for the most affected we actually yield greater outcomes for the whole. So thinking about surveillance in the context of a colonized island and solutions around budget advocacy – an area that is becoming increasingly privatized on every level – has been especially poignant here. I think even having gone out in San Juan and met with some of the community groups and seen what their responses have been to some of the challenges that they’ve encountered has been helpful to think about our own tactics. There is a creativity here that emerges from a lack of resources that those of us in the more privileged sectors and geographies need to learn from. 

Brief Context on Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has been part of the U.S.’ colonial project for over 120 years now. Puerto Ricans have no representation in the federal government and are not allowed to vote unless they move to one of the 50 U.S. states. Many Puerto Ricans have been fighting for full independence from the United States, and particularly against the austerity measures which have destroyed the local economy. 

In 2017, Hurricane Maria, a deadly category 5 hurricane, hit the archipelago. Both the U.S. federal government and the government of Puerto Rico were slow in their response to the disaster. Nearly 5,000 people died and over 80% of Puerto Rican households were without electrical power for over 100 days. 

The Freedom from Violence and Criminalization Convening

The convening brought together 52 activists and organizers who are part of 30 organizations that Astraea and Borealis either collectively or respectively fund through Borealis’ “Communities Transforming Policing Fund” and Astraea’s “Freedom from Violence and Criminalization” cohort, within our U.S. Fund. 

These organizations work across the country and in Puerto Rico, their work spanning the effects of criminalization, policing, and state violence on LGBTQI people and People of Color, working towards police reform, dismantling the criminal justice system, visibilizing healing justice strategies, and much more.


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Our 2019 Healing Justice Funder Convening

On May 16, 2019 in New York, Astraea held a Healing Justice Funder Convening. We brought together 60 funders from 30 philanthropic institutions, alongside 15 organizers and healing practitioners, to strategize how we can bolster our movements by funding healing justice work.

On May 16, 2019 in New York, Astraea held a Healing Justice Funder Convening. We brought together 60 funders from 30 philanthropic institutions, alongside 15 organizers and healing practitioners, to strategize how we can bolster our movements by funding healing justice work. At a time when our communities are facing an onslaught of violence and oppression, including targeted attacks on people of color, immigrants, women and trans people, the convening was a critical opportunity for funders to discuss how healing justice can promote collective safety and build the power and resilience of movements. The convening followed the launch of Astraea’s new report, Healing Justice: Building Power, Transforming Movements.

As a public foundation, one of Astraea’s roles is to align philanthropic resources with the visions, needs, and priorities of movements. The convening honored the legacy and roots of healing justice work in the U.S. by centering the voices of organizers and practitioners from across the country. Throughout the convening, funders listened to organizers share how they can be most supportive of their struggles.

Organizers emphasized how locally-grounded and culturally-specific healing justice work is and must be. They shared how healing justice work helps build their capacities to live and thrive, as well as the power that enables them to win. They asked funders to listen, to give them space to experiment, and to trust. The convening aimed to embody healing justice throughout the day, with facilitation by healer Adaku Utah and massage, Reiki, acupressure and herbs from an amazing team of community-based practitioners.

It was a reflective, generative, and (unusually-for-philanthropy) honest space in which funders and activists exchanged ideas and worked towards a collective vision for healing justice. We’re excited to share some of the learning from the day with you:

  • If you’d like to learn more about the day’s conversations, our summary report shares the highlights.
  • Spot yourself in photos from the day here!
  • To get a feel for the convening and hear some brilliance from the speakers, watch our video above and panel recordings!

Our deepest gratitude to all the participants. We are honored to have brought together so many funders to deepen support for healing justice. We look forward to continuing to build, strategize, and vision together.

Farewell to J. Bob Alotta!

As we bid farewell to Bob, we wanted to take this moment to reflect on her immense legacy and celebrate her profound impact.

As we bid farewell to Bob, we wanted to take this moment to reflect on her immense legacy and celebrate her profound impact. Bob’s passionate, visionary, and bold leadership grew Astraea in ways we could not have imagined. Bob steadily charted a course for gender, racial and economic justice that positions Astraea at the leading edge of intersectional LGBTQI philanthropy, while staying true to our lesbian feminist roots. Our founding mothers would be proud. 

Bob always saw Astraea’s role as shifting power and resources from where they intentionally were to where they intentionally weren’t, yet needed to begrassroots LGBTQI movements around the world. Bob accomplished this by expanding Astraea’s capacity to deliver resources to the most bold and brilliant LGBTQI groups in the U.S. and globally, as well as deepening our philanthropic presence and leadership, bringing an intersectional queer feminist lens to fields as diverse as internet freedom, communications, gender equality and racial justice. She started in 2011 as Astraea’s second Executive Director, with an organizational budget of $3 million and stewarded that to the sizable $13 million budget it is today. 

A leader in queerying philanthropy, through Astraea, Bob imagined new and transformative ways of working togetherto name just one example, she was the visionary behind CommsLabs, an innovative participatory movement-building initiative that networks LGBTQI activists and technologists. At regional and country-level convenings, grassroots activists connect with trainers, technologists, and healers who support them to effectively address threats and seize the opportunities available in the digital age. These convenings, co-designed by activists and centering wellness and holistic security while also building skills and capacity, exemplify Bob’s ability to break down silos and respond to the ways our movements are changing.  

Under Bob’s leadership Astraea also expanded global LGBTQI philanthropy through strategic decisions to partner with bilateral governments like the innovative LGBTI Global Development Partnership. Through this initiative, we expanded grantmaking in 12 countries and shifted over $15.5M to grassroots LGBTQI movement-building, laying the foundation for future bilateral relationships and partnerships which have positioned us excellently for the next phase of our work. 

With Bob, Astraea launched the first Intersex Human Rights Fund in the world in 2015, leveraging more than $2 million for the intersex movement globally, and we grew our U.S. work to combat the criminalization of communities of color, particularly Black folks and migrants. Bob oversaw the Global Arts Fund, building on our long legacy of supporting artistic and cultural change work, our Healing Justice: Building Power, Transforming Movements report, and our recent Feminist Funding Principles

We are grateful to Bob for laying the foundation for Astraea’s next phase, setting us up so well to support the next generation of our leadership and the vision and talents of our incredible staff. We are excited to announce that we have identified an Interim Executive Director who will start in the coming weeks, and who will lead Astraea through a transition period for the next nine to twelve months. During the transition period, the Interim Executive Director will work with the Board and staff on laying the groundwork for the next permanent Executive Director. We look forward to introducing her to you soon!

It’s clear that Astraea’s role is more critical than ever in this time of escalating violence and oppression against LGBTQI communities, and the Board is committed to working closely with the Interim Executive Director and staff to continue to provide critical grantmaking and capacity building for LGBTQI grassroots leaders around the world. We will share next steps as they unfold and look forward to introducing you to the new Interim soon. Please join us as we enter this next phase of Astraea, share your support, questions and dollarstogether we are building a more just and joyous world. 

In solidarity,

Iimay Ho and Eboné Bishop, Co-Chairs 
On behalf of the Board of Directors

Astraea’s newest U.S. Fund grantees!

Our U.S. Fund is Astraea’s longest-standing fund, and we’re excited to introduce you to our latest batch of grantee partners!

We’re excited to share our latest round of U.S Fund grants! These incredible organizations are working to end mass criminalization and incarceration, disrupt systems of oppression, and resist all forms of state violence and white supremacy.

In the last year, Astraea has awarded over $1.5 million in grants to 58 grantee partners in 19 states and Puerto Rico (while Puerto Rico grantee partners have been included in this statistic, we recognize the self-determination and autonomy of the Puerto Rican independence movement). Over 99% of this funding went to LGBTQI People of Color-led organizations working for racial, economic, gender, migrant and reproductive justice. We also launched our first set of Healing Justice grants awarding $60,000 to 14 organizations to support community-based resiliency and survival practices integral to our collective liberation.

Many of our U.S. grantee partners work across movements and are connected by common values and goals—a vision for intersectional, liberatory social justice. Our grantee partners are:

  • Building the local and regional power of Black, Brown, queer, trans, migrant, poor, and working class communities in the South, such as Southerners on New Ground (SONG)’s ‘Free from Fear’ campaign strategy which worked to politicize and engage LGBTQ people to lead migrant justice and anti-criminalization campaigns. Building on the success of that, SONG launched its #EndMoneyBail campaign, which ignited local organizing to focus on eliminating money bail and pretrial detention across the South. It demands that municipalities divest from cages, courts, and police, and invest in community-based solutions, such as needs assessment programs.
  • Pushing for digital rights and privacy for all, such as grantee partner MediaJustice, who joined 34 civil rights, consumer, and privacy organizations in launching public interest principles for robust and comprehensive federal legislation. These guidelines would ensure fairness, prevent discrimination, advance equal opportunity, protect free expression, and hold companies that collect personal data accountable for privacy violations.
  • Empowering, resourcing, and building the leadership of trans People of Color, like Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable and Empowering (TAKE)who work to increase access for and meet the needs of trans Women of Color (TWOC) in Alabama. TAKE advocates for trans friendly policies, organizes to end discrimination, engages in leadership development, and provide peer support groups. In 2017, they opened the TAKE Resource Center, the first space dedicated to providing a safe, nurturing space for TWOC in Birmingham. It is the only center in Birmingham that is Trans focused, Trans led, and fully staffed by TWOC.

Through grassroots organizing and advocacy efforts, our grantee partners are drawing attention to how marginalized LGBTQI people are impacted by enforcement and criminalization; increasing the visibility of healing justice strategies; working to dismantle the criminal justice system; leading campaigns to divest from prison systems; and broadening the racial justice dialogue to include reproductive justice, anti-criminalization and migrant justice strategies.

Please join us in celebrating the work of these resilient and radical 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.

API Equality – Northern California
California

Audre Lorde Project
New York

Black Alliance for Just Immigration
New York

Black and Brown Workers Cooperative
Pennsylvania

Black and Pink
National

Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project
National

Black Trans Media
New York

Blackbird
National

BreakOUT!
Louisiana

BreakOUT New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice
Louisiana

Circuito de Innovación y Resiliencia Queer
Puerto Rico

Communities United for Police Reform
New York

Community United Against Violence, Inc.
California

Dignity and Power Now
California

El/La Para Translatinas
California

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
California

Freedom Inc.
Wisconsin

Freedom to Thrive
New York

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
National

Mariposas Sin Fronteras
Arizona

MediaJustice
California

Mijente
National

Montana Two Spirit Society
Montana

New Voices for Reproductive Justice
Pennsylvania

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

Queer the Land
Washington

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

SisterReach
Tennessee

SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
Georgia

Somos Familia
California

Southern Vision Alliance
North Carolina

Southerners on New Ground & Mijente
Southeast

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW
Georgia

Stonewall Youth
Washington

Survivors Organizing for Liberation
Colorado

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

Young Women United
New Mexico

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

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African Intersex Movement – Africa’s regional intersex network – established

Between the 17th and 19th of June 2019, 21 Intersex activists representing several African countries got together for a regional Intersex activist meeting in Kenya. While there, they founded African Intersex Movement, a new network led by African Intersex activists with the aim of sharing information, skills and resources.

Between the 17th and 19th of June 2019, 21 Intersex activists representing several African countries got together for a regional Intersex activist meeting in Kenya.

In recalling the 2017 statement as our guide, We the African Intersex activists wish to announce that we have collectively launched African Intersex Movement, a network led by African Intersex activists with the aim of sharing information, skills and resources.

We exist to amplify the voices of African Intersex people at the regional level.

We offer ourselves as the African Intersex reference of intelligence for stakeholders and allies who are interested in strengthening the ongoing  liberation work for intersex peoples rights and autonomy.

We affirm that intersex people are real, and we exist in all countries of Africa. As intersex people in Africa, we live in a society that perpetuates violence and killings of intersex people by cultural, religious, traditional and medical beliefs and practices.

We aim:

  • To put an end to infanticide and killings of intersex people led by traditional and religious beliefs.
  • To put an end to mutilating and ‘normalising’ practices such as genital surgeries, psychological and other medical treatments through legislative and other means (such as education, policy and treatment protocol change). Intersex people must be empowered to make their own decisions affecting their own bodily integrity, physical autonomy and self-determination.
  • To include intersex education in antenatal counselling and support.
  • To put an end to non-consensual sterilisation of intersex people.
  • To depathologise variations in sex characteristics in medical practices, guidelines, protocols and classifications, such as the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases.
  • To ensure that sex or gender classifications are amendable through a simple administrative procedure at the request of the individuals concerned. All adults and capable minors should be able to choose between female (F), male (M), intersex or multiple options. In the future, sex or gender should not be a category on birth certificates or identification documents for anybody.
  • To raise awareness around intersex issues and the rights of intersex people in communities and society at large.
  • To create and facilitate supportive, safe and celebratory environments for intersex people, their families and surroundings.
  • To ensure that intersex people have the right to full information and access to their own medical records and history.
  • To ensure that all professionals and healthcare providers that have a specific role to play in intersex people’s well-being are adequately trained to provide quality services.
  • To acknowledge the suffering and injustice caused to intersex people
  • To build intersex anti-discrimination legislation in addition to other grounds, and to ensure protection against intersectional discrimination.
  • To ensure the provision of all human rights and citizenship rights to intersex people, including the right to marry and form a family.
  • To ensure that intersex people are able to participate in competitive sport, at all levels, in accordance with their legal sex. Intersex athletes who have been humiliated or stripped of their titles should receive reparation and reinstatement.
  • To recognise that medicalization and stigmatisation of intersex people result in significant trauma and mental health concerns.
  • In view of ensuring the bodily integrity and well-being of intersex people, autonomous non-pathologising psycho-social and peer support be available to intersex people throughout their life (as self-required), as well as to parents and/or care providers.

We call to action :

  • Community leaders to engage in intersex education to dispel misconceptions and stigma around intersex people.
  • Human rights organisations to contribute to build bridges with intersex organisations and build a basis for mutual support and meaningful engagement. This should be done in a spirit of collaboration and no-one should instrumentalise intersex issues as a means for other ends.
  • Funders to engage with intersex organisations and support them in the struggle for visibility, increase their capacity, the building of knowledge and the affirmation of their human rights.

For further information and inquiries, please contact us at intersexafrica@gmail.com

The Right-Wing Is Weaponizing Gender Panic by J. Bob Alotta

Around the globe, conservative forces are using the “gender ideology” movement to score all kinds of victories.

By J. Bob Alotta, Astraea Executive Director, published in The Advocate

The Trump Administration’s leaked gender memo, the recent transgender military ban, and the expansion of the global gag rule aren’t coincidences. They are part of a well-coordinated, funded global movement designed to control our communities by restricting the rights and bodily autonomy of women, LGBTQI communities, and people of color — eerily reminiscent of Reagan era oppressive tactics.

For LGBTQI communities, this kind of backlash is not new. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, the Reagan administration demonized our communities, as did right-wing forces around the world, spreading the false notion of the “gay plague” and blaming men who have sex with men for the transmission of the HIV virus. LGBT people were denied equal access to healthcare, faced intense violence, were stigmatized, stripped of basic rights, and often forced into the shadows. But we fought back.

Today, we know the far-right are sewing those same seeds of paranoia, creating gender panic with the use of an intentionally ambiguous organizing framework termed “gender ideology”by some and “anti-gender ideology” by others. Originating in the 1990s, gender ideology is a construct that depicts efforts to expand rights for women, LGBTQI people, and people of color, as radical, dangerous, and elitist, arguing that we are a threat to traditional family values.

What we have been less aware of is that this gender ideology movement is extremely well-funded, and well-organized across sectors and regions. While we don’t have a comprehensive map of the funding of these movements, we know the size and scope is significant…

Read the full article via The Advocate.


Support local fights for LGBTQI fights around the globe:

Pride 2019: Astraea T-Shirts

To celebrate the radical roots of Pride and our commitment to the sustainability of grassroots movements for justice, Astraea has worked with the artist Amir Khadar to design three new t-shirts. All proceeds will support Astraea’s mission to resource LGBTQI grassroots activism in the U.S. and around the world.

To celebrate the radical roots of Pride and our commitment to the sustainability of grassroots movements for justice, Astraea has worked with the artist Amir Khadar to design three new t-shirts. To order shirts of your own, follow the links below! All proceeds will support Astraea’s mission to resource LGBTQI grassroots activism in the U.S. and around the world.

Healing Is Justice

Healing Justice is a framework for prioritizing and uplifting the sustainability practices of communities that are marginalized, objectified, and policed by the state and institutions to address the impact of violence and trauma. At the Astraea Foundation, we believe that healing IS justice, an integral part of activist work for communities facing systems of oppression. Buy your Healing Is Justice t-shirt here!

Queer Liberation

In Pride Month and beyond, it’s important to uplift and honor the roots the communities without whom Pride would not exist–queer and trans People of Color, sex workers, and more. Our new Queer Liberation t-shirt honors those roots with important symbols of queer and trans resistance–a red umbrella for sex workers’ rights, a brick for the Stonewall Riots, and roses for Trans Day of Remembrance. Buy your Queer Liberation t-shirt here!

#QueerLiberationNotRainbowCapitalism

In Pride Month and beyond, Astraea is committed to engaging around the problematic politics of corporate pride, rather than being complicit or silent around these issues. We say yes to queer liberation and not to rainbow capitalism. Help us redirect money and energy from rainbow capitalism to people-of-color-led organizations striving for justice with a #QueerLiberationNotRainbowCapitalism t-shirt. Buy your #QueerLiberationNotRainbowCapitalism shirt here!

Astraea Envisions Queer Liberation: Pride Month 2019

We want a Pride Month that is truly inclusive and leans into the LGBTQI grassroots visions for where our movements are headed. We’re holding both the accomplishments we are proud of, as well as shining a spotlight on the many political, social, and cultural battles still ongoing around the world.

What we say NO to!

  • NO policing of LGBTQI bodies
  • NO rainbow capitalism
  • NO normalizing of white gay cis identity at the expense of Black and Brown LBQTI folks
  • NO depoliticization of our causes
  • NO homogenization of our identities and struggles
  • NO exclusion of bi/pan, asexual, intersex, trans, and others

From the time of Stonewall, LGBTQ patrons of the Stonewall Inn—fed up with being harassed and targeted, who were predominantly People of Color—fought back against the police. Today, we know that Pride activities and marches in many parts of the United States and around the world are still spaces of resistance. Oftentimes, these spaces and the LGBTQI people who participate in them are criminalized, discriminated against and/or face violence and backlash.

Pride marches often include a heavy police presence, which can be triggering and unsafe, particularly for QTPOC. Police and law enforcement have a history of violence against LGBTQI communities, which continues into the present in many contexts, making Pride marches violent and dangerous for some members of the LGBTQ community.

Putting Pride in the context of remembering Stonewall 50 years on, we acknowledge this is a year where in the U.S anti-LGBTQI violence is escalating, particularly the anti-trans actions introduced—from trying to ban trans people from the military, to rescinding Obama-era memos that protected trans workers and students from discrimination. Just as of June 15, 2019, four trans women have been reported murdered during this Pride Month, and at least 10 have been reported murdered overall in 2019.

What we say YES to!

  • We want a Pride that is truly inclusive and leans into the LGBTQI grassroots visions for where our movements are headed. We’re holding both the accomplishments we are proud of, as well as shining a spotlight on the many political, social, and cultural battles still ongoing around the world.
  • We commit to engaging around the problematic politics of corporate Pride rather than being complicit or silent around these issues. We say yes to queer liberation and not rainbow capitalism.
  • We take care of and are joyous in our communities, while we keep fighting for justice. LGBTQI grassroots activism has always combined struggle with celebration. Pride can and should be both celebratory and healing, and heavy and political.
  • We call for a Pride that is centered around highlighting and protecting self-determination, bodily autonomy, gender justice, diverse gender identities and sexualities, and rejecting violence, discrimination, and gender-based oppression. We see our role as uplifting the tremendous work of our grantee partners, and the work that we are proud of having done.
  • We acknowledge that as a philanthropic institution with power and resources, we have a particular responsibility to amplify those communities who are not always heard during Pride month or at all, as well as to call out efforts to corporatize and homonormalize Pride.
  • We uplift Pride actions around the world that are truly radical, political and liberatory. Some examples include: Annual NYC Dyke March // Trans Day of Action // Queer Liberation March // Soweto Pride

What we’re PROUD of:

  • Our 40+ year history of resistance through lesbian feminist philanthropy— read our Feminist Funding Principles here
  • Supporting grassroots organizations and leadership around the world that center LGBTQI people
  • Our commitment to centering the leadership of queer, trans, & GNC People of Color in the U.S.—over 99% of our grantee partner organizations in the U.S. are POC-led
  • Healing Justice practices as a response to generational trauma, policing, and surveillance—read our Healing Justice Report here
  • Uplifiting queer digital activism and holistic security for organizers and activists
  • Our overt support of intersex activism and global local organizing—read more about our Intersex Human Rights Fund here

SOME RESOURCES

#AstraeaPride 2019 Videos:

U.S. Fund:

The U.S. Fund is Astraea’s longest-standing fund, working for racial, gender, economic, migrant and reproductive justice and centering the leadership of queer, trans and GNC People of Color in the U.S. For #Pride2019, we’re celebrating the U.S. Fund and all we’ve accomplished through the Fund so far. Read more about it: buff.ly/2Z7E6h8

LGBTQI Digital Activism:

Astraea believes in the power of digital LGBTQI-led activism. For #Pride2019, we’re highlighting some of the ways we’ve recently supported digital activism in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Healing Justice:

Astraea is invested in supporting LGBTQI communities to heal, rebuild, learn, collaborate, and grow through the #HealingJustice work we support. This #Pride2019, we’re uplifting some of the ways we’ve recently worked to collectively build power, resilience, and joy through #HealingJustice. 

Intersex Human Rights Fund:

Astraea is proud to work side-by-side with intersex activists and organizations around the globe who are demanding justice for intersex human rights, contesting the pathologization of intersex bodies, and defending intersex people’s rights to self-determination, bodily autonomy, and physical integrity through our Intersex Fund. For #Pride2019, we’re celebrating the Fund and all it’s accomplished in recent years.

Farewell but not goodbye – A letter from Astraea Executive Director, J. Bob Alotta

“Today, after eight years, I am announcing I will be transitioning out of my role as the Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. While it is a move I do not make lightly, I do so with the full support of the board and the incredible staff of Astraea.” – J. Bob Alotta

 

Today, after eight years, I am announcing I will be transitioning out of my role as the Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. While it is a move I do not make lightly, I do so with the full support of the board and the incredible staff of Astraea.

Astraea is and will ever be an entity of enormous transformation and purpose. As only the second Executive Director in an over 40-year herstory, I have had the incredible honor of evoking the anchor of lesbian feminism bestowed on us by our founding mothers, while building a future-forward organization that has now granted over $40 million dollars to LGBTQI grassroots activists and artists in over half the world.

We have realized exponential growth in such a short period of time: nearly six-toupling our budget, doubling our staff—who now span 10 cities, 6 countries, and three continents—with an ever-evolving eye for providing radically transformative grantmaking and capacity building on the ground. We have done so while expanding our philanthropic voice. Astraea has shown up and spoken up for philanthropic action that embodies the best of what we have learned as an institution: fund the long-game, respect the steps, fund without restriction, trust the innovation in our communities, center the voices at the intersections of lived experience, know we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. In short, be bold. And we have.

I am proud to have served a vision so much larger than myself—embodied by every activist/artist/donor who bravely shows up to bring a just and joyous world to fruition. They (you) have allowed me to bring my best self to work every day I was able. Running a foundation is not easy! Working in the movements you’re from is difficult. Building partnership and ally-ship, starting and sustaining conversations, growing while doing, being a singular entity in every room—all without a roadmap because it had never been done before—because I had never done anything like this before—is profoundly challenging, but that is Astraea’s charge. The staff shows up to this calling magnificently. My gratitude to them is immeasurable. It has been my deepest honor to work alongside them and steward us during this time.

Paramount to my decision to transition was being able to leave the organization in the best possible position. Two key factors make me confident I am doing so. This past year, we have secured significant multi-year partnerships that will ground the work both programmatically and organizationally for many years to come. These partnerships mark the next wave of “new beginnings” for Astraea. And now. I will work alongside staff and board leadership during a period of transition. You will continue to hear more from us as our next steps unfold. I suspect we will lean into you, our trusted community, as we enter the next stage of Astraea’s evolution. I am writing to you with so much gratitude and so much excitement for Astraea’s future. I urge you, as I surely will, to continue to support Astraea’s growth, purpose, and vision. We need her more than ever.

In deep solidarity, 
(as ever)
– B

 J. Bob Alotta
Executive Director 
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice


A letter from Astraea’s board:

As Bob announces her transition, we express our deep gratitude for her visionary leadership of the profoundly challenging and liberatory work that is Astraea’s charge. In the constantly shifting political landscape of the past 8 years, Bob has stayed steady, bold, and clear about Astraea’s role in transcending borders and building futures for LGBTQI people pursuing social justice and human rights. 
 
She has expanded the organization and kept us on the cutting edge, positioning Astraea to the level of global influence we have today. As an ambassador for Astraea, Bob has excelled at navigating complex cultural and political spaces, breaking down silos, and centering LGBTQI human rights wherever she goes. Through her vision and work in partnership with Astraea’s incredible staff, we have accomplished many breakthroughs in strengthening the capacity of LGBTQI grassroots leaders.

Bob has led Astraea in a powerful arc of organizational growth and sustainability, and we are well-positioned to pivot to welcome a new leader. We ask our grantee partners to act in bold and transformative ways and so we are transforming ourselves as well by celebrating Bob’s accomplishments and meeting the evolving needs of the movement. In this current political moment of escalating violence against LGBTQI communities, it is clear that there is a heightened need for Astraea’s role. We are deeply committed to working with Bob to steward Astraea through this transition so that we can continue to provide critical grantmaking and capacity building for LGBTQI grassroots leaders around the world.

The Astraea board has begun the process of identifying an interim executive director and working alongside staff to create a roadmap for the steps forward. We thank Bob for her immense dedication to Astraea’s mission and wish her the very best as her next chapter begins.

Signed,

Iimay Ho and Eboné Bishop, Co-Chairs 
On behalf of the board of directors