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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.

 

 Yael Demedetskaya

Yael is a trans woman activist from Russia. In 2004, she established the Foundation Transgender of which she is Director, Projects and Media Coordinator. She has an extensive history of advocacy on trans* rights in Russia including working on improving healthcare access, employment, empowerment, legal and psychological counselling. She conducted one of the first support groups in Russia for trans* people and delivered the first special training sessions for the medical personnel about transgender issues and how to support trans* patients. She has a PhD in mathematics and MSc economics (Moscow State University), specialized in financial analysis with IT and technical background. Yael is also a Senior Researcher in the affiliated Gender Dynamics Research group and published several papers including “Transgender Parenting in Russia”, “Study of self-esteem and quality of life in persons with transgender identity” and studies about the HIV spread among the transgender population in Russia. She also works on HIV prevention programs for trans* people in Russia.

 

 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.

 

 Franco Fuica

Franco is a trans feminist activist from Chile of trans-masculine identity and expression. He has developed his activism in trans organizations since his days as a university student, becoming the first trans person to be elected for a position of student political representation in Chile. Franco is one of the founding partners of OTD Chile (Organizing Trans Diversities) as the coordinator of Legislation and Public Policy, from where he has led efforts to obtain a Gender Identity Law in Chile. He is part of the LGBTTTI Coalition of the Organization of American States where he advocates in different areas of the Inter-American System. Since 2017, he is part of the Regional Council of International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGA LAC). He is one of the founders of ULTrans (Latin American Union of trans masculinities and people assigned to female gender at birth) and serves as Co President of the Civil Society of the Equal Rights Coalition.

 

 Mikee Inton

Mikee is an academic and an activist currently serving on the Board of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA World) as a representative of the Global Trans Secretariat. She is also a board member of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), the first trans-centered support group and advocacy organization in the country. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Cultural Studies at Lingnan University under the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate programs and courses on Gender Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Feminism. Her research interests include trans representations in film and other popular forms of entertainment, as well as trans-oriented healthcare and decolonizing genders.

 

 Deon Mejri

Deon is an intersectional LGBTQI+ activist. They previously worked with the Tunisian organization Mawjoudin (We Exist) and were a board member and Project Coordinator for the Tunisian Coalition for LGBTQI+ rights. Deon is the Regional Coordinator in Africa & the Middle East for Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT). They have also been developing multiple projects and activities to promote a healthy culture of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristic (SOGIESC). They have joined ITPC-MENA recently as the Global Fund MENA Platform Manger. Additionally, they are a professional trainer and facilitator. As a psychology graduate and recognized LILO counsellor, Deon has been using their knowledge in Psychology to provide counselling to LGBTQI+ individuals who are victims of violence and violations to help them start their healing journey.

 

 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.

 

 Isa Noyola

Isa  is a translatina activist, a national leader in LGBT immigrant rights movement, and the Deputy Director at Mijente. Formerly she was the Deputy Director of the Transgender Law Center. She also works extensively for the release of transgender women from ICE detention and an end to deportations. She is a part of the advisory boards of El/La para Translatinas and Familia: Trans, Queer Liberation movement. She helped lead and organize the first ever national trans anti-violence convening that brought together over 100 activists, mostly trans women of color, to address the epidemic of violence that trans communities are facing. Isa is passionate about building the leadership of transgender communities. She is leading programmatic strategies to help build a pipeline through the creation of trainings & leadership gatherings to share advocacy tools and strategies. Isa believes that a stronger and more vibrant transgender community is possible when we abolish oppressive systems that criminalize all of our communities especially trans and queer immigrant communities of color.

 

 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.

 

 Chamindra Kumari Weerawardhana

Chamindra is a political and international affairs analyst, consultant and gender justice activist, working in the areas of inclusive reproductive justice and intersectional feminist advocacy. A Sri Lankan national, she currently serves as the Secretary to the Regional Steering Committee of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN). She is also a Directress of Venasa, Sri Lanka’s oldest trans equality network. A prolific writer, her work has appeared in international peer-reviewed publications and many media outlets, and she is the author of the book Decolonising Peacebuilding: Managing Conflict from Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka and Beyond. She speaks regularly on international platforms, on topics related to trans feminist advocacy, intersectional justice and international relations. Her ongoing research carries a three-pronged focus on gender politics, intersectional feminist international relations and the politics of deeply divided places. She completed her undergraduate and early postgraduate education at Université François Rabelais (Tours, France), and her PhD in International Politics at Queen’s University Belfast. Apart from her native Sinhala, Chamindra speaks English, French and German. 

 

 Joe Wong

Joe is a trans masculine advocate born in Singapore. As the Executive Director of Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN), he provides overall leadership and management and leads the organization to achieve its strategic goals. In his time in APTN, Joe pushed for trans masculine inclusion to the network resulting in the increased visibility and inclusivity of trans masculine people and their issues in the region. His experience includes advocating for trans men’s sexual and reproductive health rights and consulting with communities and health providers to help develop and implement best practice standards for trans people. He has supported nascent groups financially and technically, implementing a sub-granting mechanism to reach nascent groups. Prior to joining APTN, he spent 4 years at Action for AIDS Singapore where he managed the MSM and trans HIV/ AIDS programs. He has also served in advisory roles and leadership roles for many organizations and is currently the Advisor to the Astraea Foundation and Urgent Action Fund Asia Pacific.

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