Grant Making Panel

The Grant Making Panel (GMP) is made up of  trans activists from across the globe with diverse expertise who review applications and select grantees.

Mani AQ

Mani is Co-Founder of Have Only Positive Expectations (HOPE) and works as a Program Executor in the organization. HOPE is a community-based organization seeking to advance the human rights of socioeconomically disenfranchised groups in Pakistan. The organization began its operations in 2018 with the founding team envisioning a safe space for people discriminated against based on their body, gender, and sexuality. This became a cornerstone to HOPE’s work- looking ahead to a future that was envisioned to be safe, free, and compassionate for everyone. Mani is the pioneer of Transgender-men movement in Pakistan. Mani is the one who started the discussion about transgender men’s issues, struggle, challenges and rights which makes him an essential contributor to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 and the Provincial Transgender legislation for inclusion of transgender men.

 Dennis Baliraine

Dennis is trans identifying woman based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has experience working with MSM and sex worker groups as a SRHR peer educator, trainer of trainers on paralegal council for LGBTI+ persons and sex workers as well as LGBTIQ+ advocacy. Her activism envisions an equitable, human society where trans persons, gender minorities and sex workers can freely express themselves, exercise their bodily autonomy and define their identity with dignity. Dennis also has an Accounting degree and has worked on the financial reporting of grant funds utilization in the organizations she has served. Her professional interest lies in the improvement of the financial sustainability of operations, governance structures and the integrity of the internal control systems for the processes within organizations.  She now currently works with UHAI EASHRI as a finance associate dealing with payments and compliance and is glad to have helped co-ordinate the Trans-Pre Conference at CFCS VII hosted by ITF and UHAI EASHRI.

 Stephanie W. R. Belemu

Stephanie currently serves as the Programs, Advocacy & Learning Manager of Transbantu Association Zambia. Since joining the organization in 2013, they have worked toward achieving recognition and inclusion of Trans* and Intersex specific health needs as they relate to sexual health and reproductive health in Zambia through co-chairing of the Key Populations Technical Working group at the National AIDS Council, Chair of the Key Populations Advisory Committee constituted by FHI 360 and facilitating dialogues with healthcare providers and religious leaders with National AIDS Council. They also pushed to include conversations on sensitive topics affecting trans masculine persons through safe space creation to speak to issues such as menstrual hygiene and cervical cancer screening as an intersectional learning approach. Stephanie is an avid activist whose passion is coupled with impartiality that makes activism a drive to co-creating an environment in which transgender, intersex and young women are recognized, included and capacitated.

Melody Boateng

Melody (aka the Amazon) is a young Transgender feminist activist, graduated from the National University of Benin in translation interpreting, specializing in English, French, with professional training in rights. She is the honorary President of the first trans association in Benin created in 2015, Melody has used her skills to ensure that the rights and needs of LBTIQ people are respected.  She believes in an inclusive world, without discrimination where all trans people can find a place in society like any human being. In 2020, Melody was appointed an advisory member of the Dignity Network Canada where she acts as an advisory member for all decisions for LGBTQIA communities in Canada.  In 2021, she joined Egides, where she sits on the board of directors as President of the programming committee.  She then joined the Pride Africa working group where she played a very important role in the process of visibility and pride of LGBTQIA people in Africa. Melody’s hobbies are music, fashion, journalism, current affairs debates between columnists, travel and reading, this allows her to regenerate herself at every moment and to be in harmony with her.

 Tyler Diaz

Tyler is a 2nd year student of Sociology with a mention in autonomy at the URACCAN Autonomous University of the Caribbean Coast in Nicaragua.He started as an activist with the movement of sexual diversity of the Caribbean Coast MDS-RAAS, where he openly positioned himself as a trans boy, serving as secretary of the movement’s board of directors, later through the National Board of the LGBTI Community in Nicaragua. He participated In the process of carrying out the Minimum Agenda for Human Rights for Sexual Diversity in Nicaragua, he coordinated the project of sexual and reproductive education for adolescents and youth in the City of Bluefields, led by the Ministry of Youth and UNFPA and is undergoing processes of leadership, civil dialogue, youth entrepreneurship etc. Subsequently, a consultation process was carried out for the Caribbean coast, and co-founded the first group of Trans Men in Nicaragua, becoming part of the process of forming the Central American Network of Men that held a meeting in Guatemala in 2016 and participating in the workshop and consultation process on Comprehensive implementation of HIV and STI programs with transgender people that same year, validating the TRANSIT practical guide for collaborative Interventions in Central America. In 2017, he coordinated the HIV prevention project for the national response in Bluefields Costa Caribe of Nicaragua, through the RACCS sexual diversity movement. In 2019 he is named 2nd. Member of the Latin American Network of Trans Men and female gender assigned at birth dissident people as well as being coordinator of the Health Commission that raises a regional consultation on health focused on trans people and female gender assigned at birth dissenters.

Cami Gonzalez

Cami González, is a 32-year-old Trans Non-Binary identity, parent of 2 children who are also gender dissidents, in Uruguay. They began their advocay as a teenager, while still living in Paraguay, but it was not until they returned to Uruguay in 2013 that they were able to strengthen theier activism along with the discovery of their identity. They have been part of the Colectivo No Binaries Uruguay (Non binary collective Uruguay) since its inception, in 2019, of the bloque Trans y Disidente, a space that gathers approximately 12 to 15 groups from all over the country. They are also part of the Abya Yala Network of Non-Binary Identities “Red No Binarie Latin America” ​​since it wad founded in 2020. All this was possible thanks to CTU (Colectivo Trans del Uruguay), who were the first to open their doors and hug them. They wereinvited to participate in forums, talks and workshops around topics that address sexual and gender diversity and the reality that affects them. An antispeciesist, intersectional, transfeminist, independent worker, free lover, pansexual from a political position.

 Deyonce Naris

Deyonce is a feminist, human rights and gender activist who specializes in the human rights of trans diverse persons and currently serving as the National Coordinator of the Transgender, Intersex and Androgynous Movement of Namibia, an organization that advocates for the rights and the bodily autonomy of trans diverse persons in Namibia. She has been trained as a human rights defender, has served in leadership roles in youth movements and forums and has been a radio presenter tackling issues of gender, sexuality and sex workers rights issues.

 Sayonara Nogueira

Sayonara, 45 years old, is a licensed geography teacher and specialist in pedagogical coordination and inclusive education. She worked as a teacher in public network schools for 16 years, developing methodologies on sexual diversity in the school environment. She is an experienced trans activist in the field of education, advocating for the permanence of transgender children and teenasgers in the schooling process. She gives conferences in training faculties for teachers addressing the LGBTI issue in school spaces and gray literatures. She is the President of the Brazilian Trans Institute of Education, a member of the Trans Committee at the Ibero-American Network of LGBTI Education and co-founder of the LAC Observatory. Since 2016, she monitors cases of murders and human rights violations in Brazil and now in Latin America and the Caribbean with the Lac Observatory. She is a global advisor to the Transrespect versus Transphobia World Wide Project launched by TGEU. Sayonara runs the website that monitors and reports situations involving transphobia at schools, also carrying out various investigations on the situation in school environments for LGBTI + students. She acts directly in the process of social inclusion of trans people in her city, with focus on access to work, providing support in the process of  legal change of name and gender and in the struggle against institutional LGBTIphobia.

Anwar Ogrm

Anwar is a 26-year-old trans Muslim activist from France. Throughout his 10 years of activism, Anwar has been engaged at various levels, from local grassroots groups to international organisations, and combining different struggles, such as queer and trans rights, gender equality, sexual and reproductive rights, antiracism, and anti-islamophobia. Advocacy, capacity building, and empowerment for further marginalised communities is one of his priorities. Anwar is currently working at TGEU, the largest trans-led network in Europe and Central Asia, as Senior Programmes officer. In TGEU, Anwar is behind most of TGEU’s relationship with its membership and ensures that projects and programmes are tailored to their needs and priorities. As a volunteer, Anwar is working with trans and sex worker groups as a SRHR peer educator and HIV counsellor. His previous work includes serving the Center for Intersectional Justice as Community engager. Anwar also has a background as a youth educator and working with kids. Once the trans revolution is over, he sees himself retiring from activism and becoming a school teacher.

Daniyar Orsekov 

Daniyar started his activist journey in 2004 in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. In 2009, Daniyar became the founder of the national LGBT organization Kyrgyz Indigo and worked in it for 10 years as an Executive Director. Over 10 years, the organization has grown into a solid and sustainable organization that has changed the shape of queer activism not only in Kyrgyzstan but also in Central Asia. Since 2020, Daniyar have been working at the international organization ECOM – Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity as an Advocacy Coordinator and contributes to capacity building and expert agency of transgender people at the level of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, to the creation of strategic information and the involvement of trans people in decision-making places. Daniyar serves as a board member of the international organization MPact and is also involved in various international groups related to HIV and trans*masculine people, strategic information, gender, and antigender issues. Daniyar defines his hobby as queer photography and text creation.

Milena Papakoch

Milena was born in North Macedonia, a Western Balkan country, and lived many years in Bulgaria and Greece. Milena is an LGBI and trans activist involved in local and regional activism for many years. Before moving to Berlin, Germany Milena worked for the leading human rights organizations in North Macedonia and has long experience in finances, administration and general operations at NGO’s. Milena speaks several languages: English, Bulgarian, Greek, all the ex Yugoslav (Serbian, Montenegrin, Bosnian, Croatian) and intermediate German. Milena has experience in social entrepreneurship for marginalised communities and holds an MBA in European Management.

 Bianka Rodríguez

Bianka is a trans feminist human rights defender in El Salvador. Since 2017, she chairs the COMCAVIS TRANS NGO, which works to promote, defend and demand compliance with human rights of LGBTI people in El Salvador. Her vision for the future is to continue empowering new trans leaders to build key agendas for the trans movement and the demand for their rights in strategic spaces. Biank currently serves in the ILGALAC 2019-2021 regional council. In 2019, she was elected general secretary of the Salvadoran LGBTI Federation. She is also a member of the civil society advisory group of ONUMUJERES (Spanish for UNWOMEN) in El Salvador, executive secretary of the Civil Society table against Forced Displacement, and member of the Salvadoran Network of Women Human Rights Defenders. Her great career as an advocate was recognised as regional winner for the Americas of the Nansen Refugee award in 2019 for her work with the LGBTI population forcibly displaced by violence as refugees in El Salvador and the region.

Lenny Semenova

Lenny is a Ukrainian born LGBTQI human rights activist and a Doctor of Medicine who identifies as a politically non-conforming and a bigender individual. S_he has over 20 years of experience in the fields of human rights activism, HIV prevention and health services for LGBTQ, and advocacy for LGBTQI freedoms. Since 1996, Lenny has been involved in the LGBT movement as an activist, founder, and employee of several LGBTQ nonprofit organizations. Lenny is a founding member of a number of LGBTQ nonprofits, festivals, events, and initiatives in different regions. Promoting human rights for LGBTQI people in Ukraine and globally, s_he became a part of the international initiative MunichKyivQueer Contact Group and a founding member of KyivPride Canada. Since 2015, Lenny has been a Co-Chair of the oldest Ukrainian LGBT organization (“LIGA”) that has, for the past 20 years, been working for equal rights for LGBT people in Ukraine. Lenny also represents the international community sitting on the Advisory Board of the Canadian nonprofit Dignity Network, the Equal Rights Coalition civil society network, ILGA`s Steering Committee on trans issues, the Eurasian Key Populations Health Network`s & Global expert group on Transgender People and HIV/AIDS, and the interim board of Transgender Europe.

Chamindra Weerawardhana

Chamindra Weerawardhana is an intersectional feminist human rights defender, researcher, educator and published author. Her discipline is international politics, with a special focus on innovations in feminist international relations, politics of deeply divided societies and inclusive gender justice. Chamindra’s rights activist praxis is grounded in a logic of engaging with and learning from progressive women-of-colour feminist traditions worldwide. She is the author of the book Decolonizing Peacebuidling: Managing Conflict from Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka and Beyond. Her work has also appeared in international peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. She is the secretary to the Regional Steering Committee of the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network. Chamindra also serves as a Senior Consultant to the Gender Identity/Expression and Sex Characteristics Programme at ILGA World. She is a co-founder of the Consortium for Intersectional Justice, a collective of rights defenders working to enhance the understanding of the concept of intersectional justice among policymakers. 

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