Category: Staff

Welcoming Luca Lukina as the ITF’s New Communications Associate

The ITF is pleased to announce that Luca Lukina has joined our team as the Communications Associate. Luca is a nonbinary activist from Kyrgyzstan with a passion for trans rights and social justice. Luca joins ITF with a background in communications and advocacy as well as 7 years of experience working in grassroots groups and organizations. They believe in the power of storytelling for changing social norms and fighting injustices.

Luca first got involved in human rights activism when they were attending the American University of Central Asia. Throughout the years they have worked in different gender justice and LGBT rights NGOs, most notable being “Labrys”, an organization based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Luca’s involvement with LGBT rights and feminist activism has shaped their work which is focused on helping queer communities tell their stories and strengthening solidarity within movements.

Q & A: Getting to Know Luca

What excites you about joining ITF as the Communications Associate?
I’m very excited to become part of an organization with a global impact that reaches trans communities in all parts of the world. Most of my previous work has been on a national and regional level so I’m very delighted to work with activists from all corners of the world and be a part of an international, multi-cultural team.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by people and activist communities that fight for equality and justice. I have been very lucky to work alongside amazing activists of different gender identities and expressions who are truly inspiring. I believe in the power of movements. When we all come together we can help each other and change the world

What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
There is no short answer to this question. My primary goal is to help the ITF achieve its strategic goals. I believe that effective communication is an integral part of this. I’m hoping to elevate our online presence and ensure that we listen to trans communities and respond to their needs. I want ITF’s future and present grantee partners and funders to have easy access to all the information they need.

My other goal is to make sure that we give a platform to trans activists from diverse backgrounds and amplify their voices while also prioritizing their safety above all.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time, I like running in a park and cooking dishes of Central Asian cuisine such as lagman and plov.

Introducing Anesu!

The ITF is thrilled to announce the appointment of Anesu Nyatanga as Program Associate. Anesu studied Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University’s college of arts and science, and he believes in using an intersectional framework to support marginalized individuals in a variety of capacities.

This past year he worked with the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Operations and Civic Engagement Commission. Here he coordinated interpretation services for limited-English proficient voters during NYC elections. While at NYU, he served as the Vice-Chair for the Student Senators Council and as a Senator-at-Large for Black and Trans students. He was the inaugural Gender & Sexuality Chair of the Governance Council for Marginalized and Minority Students, which serves to unify and provide a channel of access to institutional bodies between all student organizations and committees in the Global Network. Additionally, he was one of the thought leaders for Shades, a student group for LGBTQ people of color.

On his days off, Anesu loves to weight lift, go to the movies, and argue about pop culture icons with his friends.

You can reach Anesu at [email protected].

We are delighted to welcome Anesu to our team!

The ITF Welcomes Viviane!

The ITF is delighted to announce the appointment of Viviane Vergueiro Simakawa as our newest Program Officer. Viviane is a transfeminist activist, researcher and economist based in Brazil. She has 7 years professional experience organizing and participating in initiatives related to SOGIESC issues, specifically within Latin American contexts. She is also a passionate researcher and is currently studying gender identity and expression as a Ph.D. candidate in Women, Gender and Feminist Studies at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA).

Viviane’s involvement with activism and research on trans issues, particularly trans depathologization and initiatives at the local level in Brazil, has significantly influenced her work which is focused on resourcing and supporting trans people in various spheres and contexts. Viviane was previously a member of the ITF’s Steering Committee. She also holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies and a BA in Economics.

Viviane will join our current Program Officer, Mukasa, to directly support our grantee partners and work with broader trans movements on capacity-building initiatives. Viviane is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

We are thrilled to welcome Viviane to our team! She can be reached at [email protected]


The ITF Welcomes Vaito’a!

The ITF is delighted to announce the appointment of Vaito’a Toelupe as Capacity Building Officer. She is a proud Fa’afafine from the villages of Malie and Vailele in the Heart of Polynesia, Samoa. Vaito’a has over ten years’ experience in community and social development, civil society engagement, resource mobilization, capacity building and advocacy.

Vaito’a has served in both government and civil society sectors. She was a member of the ITF’s Grant Making Panel (GMP) and the Technical Advisor to the Samoa Fa’afafine Association (SFA). Before joining the ITF, she was the Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP), a funding mechanism for the coordination of development funds to civil society in partnership with the Government of Samoa, World Bank, European Union, Government of Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the British High Commission. She has experience as a Private Consultant under T&T Consult with USAID, Asian Development Bank, UNDP Global Fund, UNFPA, Asia Pacific Forum and the Pacific Community (SPC).

Vaito’a has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations and Foreign Policies from the University of Auckland. She is a fearless custodian of the Fa’afafine Identity and passionate advocate for indigenous and traditional identities within the global trans movement.

As Capacity Building Officer, Vaito’a will be supporting the development of ITF’s capacity-building strategy and will work directly with grantee partners and the broader trans movement on capacity-building initiatives.

We are thrilled to welcome Vaito’a to our team! She can be reached at [email protected]

The International Trans Fund Welcomes New Program Associate

The ITF is delighted to announce the appointment of Jay-René Kouassiaman as Program Associate. Jay-René is an African American man of trans experience. He has worked closely with LGBQ and Trans/GNC youth and adults of color for 12+ years, in a variety of roles, including health educator, case manager and community organizer. Jay-René is committed to advancing the inclusion of LGBQ and trans/GNC people in schools and communities, both personally and professionally.  He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies/Critical Psychology from California Institute for Integral Studies. When not working, Jay-René enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, global travel and off the beaten path adventures, exploring the local art scene, and eating delicious snacks.

As Program Associate, Jay-René will be supporting the ITF’s annual grantmaking cycle, providing logistical support for international meetings and other activities, and ensuring overall smooth operations of the team. The ITF is thrilled to welcome Jay-René to our team!

Jay-René can be reached at [email protected]