As we look back on 2020, we have witnessed the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the ongoing struggles that trans communities face. Trans activists have always been on the frontlines of political and social transformation and continue to lead in the battle against the rising tide of anti-gender ideology and TERFism, in our shared struggles for racial justice and against white supremacy and in the continued resistance to right-wing authoritarian rule and shrinking civil society spaces.
What is most striking as you read our Annual Report is that despite these incredible challenges, trans-led groups are leading political and cultural transformation in their communities and they are supporting each other to flourish and thrive. We are deeply grateful to our grantee partners for all their work.
We invite you to learn more about our grantmaking and our grantee partners from the third grant cycle.
Trans rights are under attack across the globe, from the epidemic of violence against trans women of color, sex workers and immigrants, to the rise of anti-gender ideology that is fueling the backlash against hard fought progress. Trans activists are fighting for rights and justice with grit and grace in unbelievably hostile environments and with very limited resources. There is an urgent need to provide flexible funding to grassroots trans-led groups working on the frontlines. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create new challenges and exacerbate existing inequities in the communities we support, and it has left an indelible mark on the philanthropic community as we all struggle to adapt and respond.
Despite these challenges, the ITF is well placed to direct much-needed resources where they need to go. Our participatory grantmaking model is founded upon trans leadership and decision-making at all levels, and we are deeply committed to embodying the adage of “nothing about us, without us” in every fiber of the organization because we know that our movements are best placed to come up with the strategies and solutions to make real lasting change in their communities. We hold the fundamental belief that there is a transformational potential of philanthropy when it is grounded in intersectionality and responsive and accountable to our movements. This is the ITFʼs first strategic plan and the culmination of an in-depth and engaged process of co-creation. Here are the four goals that will drive and propel our work over the next five years:
Increase and expand the ITFʼs direct grantmaking to trans-led organizations with limited resources that are engaged in movement building activities.
Build and sustain the ITF as an efficient, effective and independent participatory grantmaker.
Increase the capacity of grantee partners to secure additional funds and effectively respond to the needs of their communities.
Catalyze more and better funding for global trans movements through philanthropic advocacy and be acknowledged as the leading expert in international trans funding.
What drives our work is imagining a world where all trans people are safe and free, and can live with dignity and respect. A world where we uplift and celebrate our diverse communities’ unstoppable creativity, joy, defiance and innovation to make change. A world where trans movements are resourced, resilient and robust, working intersectionally to promote liberation and transform inequities. We are building a future where gender diversity is celebrated and where trans people have the power to live as our true, authentic selves in communities across the globe.
Director, International Trans Fund
This November 20th, 2020, the International Trans Fund (ITF) remembers and honors the lives of trans and gender-diverse people who have been murdered. The ITF’s mission is to mobilize sustainable resources for strong, trans-led movements and collective action, and to address and eliminate funding gaps impacting trans groups across the globe. The ITF has disbursed $2.615 million US dollars to 105 trans-led groups in 63 countries worldwide over four grantmaking cycles.
According to the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) TGEU project, 350 trans and gender-diverse people across the world were murdered between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. These updated results present a 6% increase in reported murders since 2019 and 3664 reported cases in 75 countries and territories worldwide between January 1, 2008 and September 30, 2020. These shocking figures illustrate the extremely high rates of violence that trans and gender-diverse people face every day.
In addition to direct violence, trans people also regularly experience stigmatization, exclusion and discrimination. In many countries, trans people struggle to obtain legal gender recognition and are forced to undergo medical procedures such as sterilization in order to be legally recognized. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as growing racism and police brutality, the lives of trans and gender-diverse people, especially those most marginalized, are at even greater risk. In order to better understand the impact of COVID-19, the ITF developed a short survey that went to our grantee partners in April 2020. One of the most striking results was that 73% reported mental health challenges and the urgent need for self-care and wellness.
As the only global participatory grantmaker fund exclusively dedicated to supporting trans-led groups in all world regions, the ITF is acutely aware of the many obstacles facing trans and gender-diverse people in accessing basic survival needs. Trans-led groups are also uniquely placed to address and respond to the challenges facing their communities but often lack the resources to do so. As we commemorate the Trans Day of Remembrance and the lives lost, the ITF stands in solidarity with trans people and groups across the world and calls upon:
Civil society to stand up and amplify their voices against all violence directed towards trans and gender-diverse people.
Donors to increase financial support for trans-led organizations, especially for the most marginalized trans communities globally, in recognition of the chronic and pervasive underfunding of trans movements.