Giving Trans Activism the Support It Deserves

From access to health care and legal gender recognition to protection against violence and discrimination, trans communities around the world are fighting increasingly urgent and visible battles for their rights and needs. In the process, these activists have built a global movement—and because trans organizations continue to be hampered by a critical lack of resources, they’ve done it on a shoestring budget. It’s time that changed.

A 2013 survey of 340 trans and intersex organizations around the world, for example, revealed that more than half were operating on a budget of less than $10,000 a year. The survey also found that trans-led groups were less likely to have external funding or paid staff—making them both less sustainable and more vulnerable to burnout.

For these and other reasons, Global Action for Trans* Equality gathered a group of activists and funders got together in Berlin in 2013 to explore new ways to bring resources to trans communities. At a subsequent meeting two years later in Istanbul, the International Trans Fund (ITF) was born. Hosted by the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and supported by foundations and donors, the ITF is a new and participatory funding initiative.

As Broden Giambrone, the ITF’s director, notes in the above video, the fund follows the principle of “nothing about us without us,” giving trans people control over decisions about their needs. That principle defines both how the fund works as well as where the money goes; organizations that receive grants must be trans-led, and their work must do more than provide direct services—it needs to support the larger movement for trans rights. To ensure that its resources are not available only to those with experience in traditional NGO settings, for example, the fund accepts proposals in five languages and lets applicants submit proposals by video.

This month, a panel of trans activists from 12 countries will meet in Mexico City to choose the recipients of the first round of grants. For grassroots movements with limited resources, even small amounts of funding can be transformative—and that’s why it’s so important to support trans people who are organizing to advocate for their communities.

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We do thank you for providing an opportunity of this kind. I am part of a group of Transgender Refugees in Kenya. Our organization brings together Trans Activists and we use our organization as a support space. We have seen friends smile again and get their makeup kits to apply powder. Thanks for making it possible.

im a Kenyan who works with the key populations in kisumu we fight for their health right,The Kenyan Government have refuse to rcogonise this comunitty hence our effort are very much needed,as a civil society based in kenya we are looking for well wishers to help us achieve this dream.

Am really happy for this kind of opportunity,i am a transgender woman living in Nigeria and my organization work with LGBTI person mostly for trans individual, we advocacy for right to health for transgender person were by there is space for transgender person to talk about there needs and problems because no one tell our story rather than us, our voice need to heard,we humans, trans right is also human rights.

used to be take hormones and live as other gender for year. now requirement to live a year as other gender for year before hormones. tougher to pass without does that make anyone safer? are the new requirements intended to make us less safe?

We must have to care about the trans Rights . It is important to the society in general recognize all the minorities such as the trans people, bisede that the most important way to include this minoritiy in our society is simple but harder in the same time , we should create equal benefits and create affirmatives actions expecialy , however the hardest factor to break down is the tabu involving this oppress minority .

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