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.

 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.

 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.

 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  observatoriotrans.org 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.

 Maceo Persson

Maceo is a queer, Latinx, trans man with a Swedish-Chilean background and living in the Bay Area, California. He began his career in Oregon where he served on the board for the state’s immigrant rights organization CAUSA, worked on local issues impacting students of color, and organized with trans communities at a local level. From there he joined Basic Rights Oregon to pass LGBT inclusive nondiscrimination and domestic partnership laws. After spending eight years in Oregon, Maceo moved to California and joined the Transgender Law Center (TLC). At TLC, Maceo engaged trans, gender nonconforming, and allied communities to pass trans-inclusive healthcare policies, and to strengthen California nondiscrimination laws. Maceo also served as TLC’s Operations Manager, supporting the organization’s infrastructure as it tripled in size. Currently, Maceo is the Director of Communications and External Affairs for the City and County of San Francisco’s Office of Transgender Initiatives. It is the first and only trans-led government office working with communities to advance policies, programs, and equity for trans, gender nonconforming and LGBTQ communities in the U.S. Maceo holds an M.P.A. from San Francisco State University. On his off-time Maceo serves as a board member for the San Francisco LGBT Center. 

 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.

 Olena Semenova

Olena 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, Olena has been involved in the LGBT movement as an activist, founder, and employee of several LGBTQ nonprofit organizations. Olena 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, Olena 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. Olena 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.

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