7th Grant Cycle Selection Process Update

We are delighted to share a progress update on the ongoing 7th grant cycle. At the recent Grant Making Panel (GMP) allocation meeting, our GMP members reviewed all applications and successfully selected grantee partners whose projects demonstrate the strongest potential for positive impact on trans movement building worldwide.

As part of our commitment to due diligence and transparency, we thoroughly checked the references of the selected groups to ensure credibility. We are pleased to announce that the Board has officially ratified the list of grantees, affirming our support for their transformative initiatives.

Congratulations to all the selected groups for this well-deserved recognition! We are currently in the process of notifying groups individually and initiating the contract signing to formalize our partnership.

For the groups whose applications were not selected, we extend our sincere appreciation for their efforts and dedication. We anticipate making an official announcement in the following months, celebrating the initiatives that will become our grantee partners.

Thank you for being an integral part of our mission!

Statement on Russia’s Gender-Affirming Care and Transition Ban/Заявление по поводу законопроекта о запрете транс-перехода

On July 19, the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, passed a series of amendments to the Family Code and federal laws, aiming to impose a ban on legal gender recognition and gender-affirmative interventions. This includes preventing those who have undergone gender-affirming surgery abroad from obtaining legal gender recognition in Russia.

The ITF vehemently condemns these amendments and urgently calls upon Russian authorities to reconsider this harmful legislation. Such measures will have irreversible consequences, affecting the lives of trans individuals, their families, and society as a whole for generations to come. It is crucial for the Russian government to protect the human rights of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.

The ban on gender-affirming care, including surgery and hormone therapy, will lead to unbearable suffering for countless Russian citizens, denying them essential healthcare services and putting their mental health at grave risk. This law effectively discriminates against trans individuals, relegating them to second-class citizenship.

Furthermore, these new amendments reject universal human rights principles and reflect the same regressive rhetoric seen in the “gay propaganda” law that prohibits the portrayal of “non-traditional sexual relations.” By continuing to promote “family values” while disregarding the rights of vulnerable communities, Russian politicians are further harming the trans community and perpetuating outdated ideas about gender and sexuality.

We stand in solidarity with the trans community in Russia and urge for a reconsideration of these harmful amendments, fostering a society that upholds the dignity and rights of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.


19 июля Совет Федерации, принял ряд поправок в Семейный кодекс и федеральные законы, направленных на введение запрета на юридическое признание гендера и гендерно-утверждающие вмешательства. В частности, запрет на смену гендерного маркера в России распространяется на тех, кто прошел гендерно-утверждающие процедуры за рубежом.

ITF осуждает эти поправки и призывает российские власти пересмотреть это вредное законодательство. Подобные меры приведут к необратимым последствиям, повлияют на жизнь транс людей, их семей и общества в целом. Для российское правительство должно защищать права всех людей, независимо от их гендерной идентичности.

Запрет на оказание гендерно-утверждающей помощи, включая хирургическое вмешательство и гормональную терапию, приведет к невыносимым страданиям огромного количества российских граждан, лишив их необходимых медицинских услуг и поставив под серьезную угрозу их психическое здоровье. Этот закон фактически дискриминирует транс людей, низводя их до уровня граждан второго сорта.

Кроме того, новые поправки отвергают универсальные принципы прав человека и отражают ту же регрессивную риторику, что и закон о “гей-пропаганде”, запрещающий изображение “нетрадиционных сексуальных отношений”. Более того, эти новые поправки отвергают универсальные принципы прав человека и отражают ту же регрессивную риторику, что и закон о “гей-пропаганде”, запрещающий изображение “нетрадиционных сексуальных отношений”. Продолжая пропагандировать “семейные ценности” и игнорируя права уязвимых групп населения, российские политики наносят дополнительный вред транс сообществу и увековечивают устаревшие представления о гендере и сексуальности.

Мы солидарны с транс сообществом России и призываем пересмотреть эти вредные поправки, вместо этого способствуя построению общества, в котором уважаются достоинство и права всех людей, независимо от их гендерной идентичности.

Call for Board Members

The ITF is seeking applications from committed trans activists to join the Board of Directors:

  • Are you a trans activist with a track record of working beyond your country or region?
  • Are you committed to, and invested in, building trans movements in your country, region and/or on a global level? 
  • Do you have a passion for advancing trans rights and building sustainable trans communities? 
  • Are you deemed credible and trustworthy in the eyes of your peers and would you like to make decisions on how resources are allocated in our movements?
  • Do you have specific technical skills in organizational development and management such as finance, legal, resource mobilization, or HR?

Trans groups across the globe remain severely under-resourced and operate with limited or no budgets. The State of Trans Organizing, a survey of 455 trans organizations conducted in 2016 by AJWS (American Jewish World Service), GATE (Global Action for Trans Equality) and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, found that two out of five trans groups had zero external funding and only 40% received foundation funding. Over half (56%) of trans organizations operated on a budget of less than USD$10,000 yearly and over three-quarters (78%) had annual budgets of less than USD$50,000. To address this disparity, a group of international trans activists and donors came together to create the ITF.

The ITF is a participatory grantmaking fund that aims to increase the capacity of trans movements to self-organize and advocate for trans people’s rights, self-determination, and wellbeing. The mission of the ITF is to mobilize and facilitate sustainable resources for strong, trans-led movements and collective action, and to address and eliminate funding gaps impacting trans groups across the globe.

The purpose of the fund is to:

  1. Build & Sustain the Fund | Build and sustain a mechanism to support trans-led groups of different sizes working on a range of issues at the international, regional, country and local levels, with a particular emphasis on groups with access to fewer resources.
  2. Resource Trans Movements |  Increase resources and enhance access to resources to support trans movements, including:
    – Access to financial resources dedicated to trans-led organizations and groups through grantmaking.
    – Access to non-financial resources for trans organizations, such as skills building, organizational strengthening, leadership development and activist support.
    – Access to other and new donors for trans organizations, beyond the ITF’s direct support.
  3. Educate Philanthropic Community | Educate peers in the philanthropic community on trans issues and influence other funders and strategic allies in trans-related commitments and strategies.

What does “trans” mean to the ITF?
The ITF understands trans as a political term that defines the communities of people the ITF works with. We define trans as individuals whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex assigned at birth. Some of these people identify and present themselves as male or female; others identify with a non-binary gender category. These identities or expressions include trans women, trans men, fa’afafine, leiti, fakafifine, akava’ine, mahu, vakasalewalewa, palopa, Sistergirls, Brotherboys, whakawahine, tangata ira tane, muxhe, omeguid, travesti, two spirit, hijra, bandhu, mangalamukhi, kinnar, thirunangai, thirunambi, khwaja sira, meti, katoey, waria, mak nyah, kua xing nan, trans laki-laki, transpinay, transpinoy, kwaasing-bit, and transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender non-binary, gender diverse, gender non-conforming, and agender people – to name just a few. 

As part of the ITF’s commitment to self-determination and decolonizing bodily oppressions, we are permanently committed and open to recognizing gender identities that emerge and that our communities claim within their socio-political contexts. These arise from the ongoing work of resistance and liberation that involves both the remembering and reimagining of gender identities and expressions.

ITF’s Grantmaking
The ITF is a participatory grantmaking fund and we take an activist-led approach that engages trans people in our grantmaking process. This means that trans people are actively involved at every stage, from determining funding priorities to reviewing applications and making decisions about which groups get funded. All eligible applications that are submitted to the ITF are reviewed by our Grant Making Panel (GMP).

Role of the Board of Directors
The ITF aims to have a minimum of 9 Directors, but cannot exceed 13 according to our Articles of Incorporation. Trans activists should constitute at least 75% of the Board of Directors and funders no more than 25% of the Board membership. The ITF has existed since 2016 but it became an independent entity in 2021 as a registered non-profit organization in Canada. in Canada. While the ITF is legally incorporated in Canada, Board members do not need to be Canadian citizens or residents of Canada. 

The role of the Board is to provide strategic governance and leadership to the ITF, as well as maintain legal and fiscal responsibility for the Fund’s activities. The Board of Directors has the following responsibilities:

  • Provide strategic oversight and guidance.
  • Ensure that the ITF meets its fiscal and legal obligations to relevant government and statutory bodies to ensure compliance and fulfillment of its fiduciary responsibility.
  • Approve annual financial statements, annual budget, organizational level policies, and the annual report of the ITF.
  • Adhere to confidentiality, ethics and conflict of interest principles in and outside of the ITF at all times.
  • Take due part in online discussions, email exchanges as well as participating in the annual in-person meeting as well as in at least 75% of online meetings.
  • Elect the Co-chairs and Treasurer of the ITF Board from among the activist members of the Board.
  • Appoint new Board members.
  • Support the staff in resource mobilization and fundraising for the ITF.
  • Appoint members for the GMP.
  • Ratify the grant docket as approved by the GMP.
  • Determine the ITF’s grantmaking priorities in consultation with the GMP. 
  • Appoint the Executive Director if there is a vacancy.
  • Make decisions on any item not delegated to any other body or staff of the ITF.
  • Volunteer to participate in Board Committees as needed and based on technical skills and experience.
  • Adhere to the ITF bylaws and other governing documents in conducting Board business.
  • Represent the ITF towards third parties when requested.

In practical terms, Board members are expected to contribute to discussions and decision-making around strategic planning, priorities and guidelines for the Grant Making Panel and managing conflict of interests as well as other organizational matters. The Board supports the ITF in fundraising and resource mobilization. Board members are also required to know and follow all internal policies and bylaws. 

Time Commitment
In order to fulfill this position, Board members must be able to commit to the following:

  • Participate in 3-5 online meetings each year (please note that Board members are located in countries all over the globe – this means that meetings may be scheduled all hours of day and night as we strive to ensure time justice). 
  • Attend and actively participate at one in-person meeting (5 days) each year.
  • Review materials, participate in discussions and make timely decisions.

Qualification of Activist Candidates
Candidates need to:

  • Have at least 5 years of direct involvement with trans activism at the regional and/or international level.
  • Have experience in decision-making bodies (e.g. Board or Steering Committees) composed of diverse stakeholders.
  • Have experience with collective and participatory decision-making processes and be able and willing to work in a diverse environment that includes activists and donors.
  • Have technical expertise and skills related to or applicable to running a non-profit participatory grantmaking fund (e.g. finance, legal, human resources, governance, communications, etc.)
  • Be able to communicate and write in at least one of the ITF’s working languages (English or Spanish).
  • Hold a passport and be able to travel internationally to attend Board meetings.
  • Have a strong commitment to fulfilling tasks and adhering to deadlines.

Conflict of Interest
Board members or their family members cannot be significantly involved in any group that is applying for funding from the ITF. Board members may not benefit financially from the grants assessed or existing ITF grants. The ITF’s Conflict of Interest policy is available here.

Board members will be appointed for a three-year term. The beginning  of the engagement will be determined based on when the recruitment process is completed and when seats become available.

Board members will receive a remuneration of USD$1,000 per each year of their term. Members also receive reimbursement of travel expenses, including per diem, to attend ITF meetings.

How to Apply
To apply, please send a two page letter that includes the following information:

  1. Describe your history as a trans activist and working within trans movements.
  2. What is your motivation for joining the Board.
  3. Describe any Board or leadership positions you have held.
  4. Any relevant technical expertise or skills that would benefit the ITF.
  5. What your experience has been in contributing to strategic thinking and development processes in similar organizations.
  6. How do you identify (please include SOGI, race, gender, and nationality).
  7. Two references (these individuals should not be affiliated with the ITF).

Please send your letter and CV to [email protected] by August 4, 2023.

7th Grant Cycle Update

We are thrilled to share an exciting update on our 7th grant cycle. This cycle has seen an overwhelming response, with a total of 314 eligible applications received from 5 regions around the world. The total funding requested by eligible applicants this cycle is $8.07 million.

Here’s a breakdown of the applications received from each region:

  • Africa & West Asia: 109 applications
  • Eastern Europe & Central Asia: 33 applications
  • East, South, Southeast Asia & the Pacific: 50 applications
  • Latin America & the Caribbean: 72 applications
  • USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand & Canada: 49 applications

To ensure accessibility and inclusivity, we accept applications in multiple languages. This cycle saw applications submitted in English, Spanish, French, Russian, and Chinese, enabling groups from diverse countries to access funding opportunities.

Among the eligible applications, 252 were submitted for the SEED grant. The SEED grant offers one-year general support and/or project funding for trans-led organizations that have never been funded by the ITF, or former grantee partners that prefer to apply for this grant instead of the THRIVE grant. The grant amounts range from $10,000 to $25,000 USD per year.

Additionally, we received 61 applications for the THRIVE grant, which specifically caters to trans-led organizations previously funded by the ITF and currently in good standing. The THRIVE grant provides one-year general support funding, with grant amounts ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 USD.

 ITF Staff Meeting on June 8th

Our team continues to work closely with the members of the Grant Making Panel (GMP) to facilitate the selection process. We are pleased to inform you that the GMP has successfully completed the scoring process for all applications. The GMP will convene at the end of June to select the grantee partners for the 7th cycle.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to advancing trans rights globally. We look forward to sharing more updates with you as we progress further in the grant cycle.

Trans Youth Initiative Uganda Statement

On May 29, 2023, a significant setback occurred for the transgender and gender diverse community in Uganda when President Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 into law. The Act, which had been initially passed by parliament on March 21, 2023, was subsequently returned to the house by President Museveni. Despite his initial request for reconsideration, the revised version of the legislation, passed by Parliament on May 2, 2023, retained numerous oppressive provisions, including severe punishments such as life imprisonment or even death. This Act criminalizes any sexual acts between adults of the same biological sex, posing a significant risk to transgender and gender-diverse individuals in Uganda, many of whom have only undergone social transition and are particularly vulnerable to hate crimes, violence, and harassment.

The law also criminalizes advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights, thereby posing a threat to organizations engaged in trans human rights advocacy or health assistance programs. As TYI-Uganda, we are deeply concerned about the devastating impact that this Act has already had on trans and gender diverse people. The majority of those who have socially transitioned or are on hormonal replacement therapy are currently living in fear and hiding, with some even facing eviction from their homes.

There have been documented cases of arrests targeting trans women, collective rape of trans men, job losses (especially among trans women involved in sex work), and mob justice against trans people whose gender expression aligns with stereotypes associated with homosexuality. The anti-LGBTIQ rhetoric surrounding this legislation has also contributed to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and stress, significantly affecting the mental health and wellbeing of transgender and gender diverse individuals.

As the face of the LGBTQ+ movement in Uganda, transgender and gender diverse people are vulnerable to violence because the majority of Ugandans lack an understanding of gender identity. This legislation poses a significant threat to our existence and violates our constitutional liberties.

The Act not only further entrenches discrimination and violence against the transgender and gender diverse community but also impedes access to crucial services such as healthcare, housing, education, participation in sports activities, employment, and freedom of association. Numerous organizations that had been providing essential support, including healthcare, mental health services, and legal assistance to trans and gender diverse individuals, have already been forced to close due to the dire situation. The assent of this Act has only exacerbated the already precarious human rights situation of the transgender and gender diverse communities across the country.

As a community, transgender and gender diverse people in Uganda assert our right to equality and freedom from discrimination, as well as our right to privacy, dignity, and respect. The proposed legislation will not silence our voices, and we will continue to fight for our rights and visibility.

At TYI-Uganda, our commitment to justice and equality remains steadfast, even in the face of adversity. This proposed legislation will not silence us; we will continue to be resolute in our determination to tirelessly advocate for the rights and well-being of the transgender and gender diverse community in Uganda. Our goal to promote inclusivity, acceptance, and respect drives us forward, despite the challenges we may encounter. We firmly believe that every individual deserves to live a life free from discrimination, fear, and prejudice.

We stand in solidarity with all transgender and gender diverse people in Uganda and around the world. Together, we will continue to work diligently to raise awareness, provide support, and fight for the rights of transgender and gender diverse individuals in Uganda.

We call on partners and allies to acknowledge and support the unique challenges transgender individuals and communities confront.

We invite all allies and partners to join us in this crucial fight. We require your participation in our struggle for equality and justice. Together, we can create a more inclusive, tolerant, and accepting Uganda, where everyone is free to express themselves without fear of discrimination or violence.

Announcing New GMP Members

The ITF is delighted to introduce our 2023 Grant Making Panel (GMP). As a participatory grantmaker, we are deeply committed to the ethos of ‘nothing about us without us.’ We believe that decisions about funding should be made by those most impacted by that funding. These 8 trans activists have diverse expertise and come from across the globe. They will join the 6 current members of the GMP and are tasked with reviewing eligible applications and selecting our grantee partners, which are then ratified by the Board. The GMP is currently reviewing applications for the 7th grant cycle and these decisions will be shared in June.

GMP Traning Session. April 2023

We recognize the importance of having a diverse and representative panel to ensure that the funds we distribute are allocated to those who need it the most. We believe that having trans activists from all over the world on the GMP will enable us to gain deeper insights into the issues facing trans communities. This year, the GMP includes members from Benin, Colombia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Namibia, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Slovenia, Thailand, the United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

We are excited to work with our new GMP members and look forward to the positive impact their involvement will have on our grantmaking process. You can read more about all current GMP members here.

Statement on Uganda’s Anti-LGBTQ Bill

On May 29th, the Speaker of Parliament communicated publicly that President Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law in Uganda. This new law imposes harsher penalties for consensual same-sex relationships and creates additional crimes targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

The law criminalizes any advocacy in support of LGBTQ+ individuals under the offense of “promoting homosexuality.” Disturbingly, it also includes a provision that permits the death penalty for cases of “aggravated homosexuality,” perpetuating stigma against people living with HIV and undermining the progress made in Uganda’s HIV/AIDS response.

We strongly condemn this law as it violates the principle of equality stated in Uganda’s Constitution. Activists are preparing to challenge the law’s constitutionality in court, highlighting the inherent human rights violations it entails.

It is disheartening to note that even prior to its passing, the proposal of this bill has resulted in targeted persecution of the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda. In order to prioritize the safety of our grantee partners, we took the critical decision to temporarily take down our social media and website, and have remained offline for the past two months. This action was taken in response to the escalating risks faced by our partners in Uganda. 

While this decision has temporarily limited our ability to communicate and engage through these channels, we firmly believe it was the necessary step to safeguard the individuals and communities we work with. After doing a risk assessment, including speaking to those impacted, and scrubbing our website, we have come back online to join the chorus of voices speaking out against the law.

We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda and will continue to advocate for the protection of their rights, safety, and well-being. We urge everyone to join us in condemning this law and supporting legal efforts to overturn it.

Welcoming Karen

Dear friends, we are pleased to introduce Karen Bennett, our new Interim Program Associate at the International Trans Fund. Karen is a talented and experienced artist and activist, with a wealth of knowledge and skills to bring to our organization.

Karen has a long and impressive career as a performer, composer, songwriter, arranger, producer, film scorer, guitarist, and singer. She has been active in the international trans advocacy community since 2010, and has previously worked as the Executive Assistant for Mauro Cabral at GATE. In 2017, Karen had the opportunity to interview Broden Giambrone and Mukasa as they announced the foundation of the ITF, and she has been working as a translator and interpreter for us ever since.

We are particularly excited to have Karen join our team, as she is the first trans musician in Latin America to write a score for a feature film. “El Puto Inolvidable” is a documentary about the late LGBTI activist who started the Pride Parades in Argentina, and Karen’s contributions are sure to make it an impactful and memorable film.

We are confident that Karen will be an invaluable asset to the ITF, and we look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in her role as Interim Program Associate.

Please join us in welcoming Karen to our team!

The Annual Report is Out

Dear trans communities, movements, activists, dear philanthropic partners, dear friends,

Several years ago we came together to form the International Trans Fund (ITF) to strengthen trans movements and gender-diverse communities so that our voices are heard and we can achieve the full recognition of our rights. The past year proved that, even when the daily oppressions and attacks against our siblings, trans women of color, sex workers, immigrants and many others, are paired with a global pandemic and a wave of disregard for our needs and livelihoods, trans groups and organizations are fighting for better lives with unbelievable grit, grace and devotion. We at the ITF are honored and humbled to be a part of this movement, and we strive to bolster and contribute to the hard work of frontline activists in the best way we can.

Our mission is to create lasting change to the realities of trans movements globally, and to do so, we must work for the social recognition of our identities and experiences in a complex, global setting, and an ever-changing one. Many of our trans siblings are deprived of liberty, many are not recognized by the hegemonic cultures violating their rights, many are facing oppressive prison and police states, racism, sexism, and socioeconomic injustice. We see clearly that the years of the pandemic impoverished our communities even further, pushing many people further into precarity, displacement, migration, and crisis.

As the ITF, we feel and worry about these harsh realities our communities live in. We want our work to help fund and strengthen these struggles and the dignity of our movements. We do this to the extent of our possibilities, trying to reach as many communities as feasible.

As the Board of the International Trans Fund, we feel deeply privileged to be able to offer our support and be part of this work, and we vow to keep rising to the challenge. Together we will guarantee a better world for the generations to come.

It is impossible to fully capture the strength, diversity and devotion of trans movements. As you flip through this Annual Report, you will see to a fuller extent the growth we were fortunate enough to experience as the ITF, and the impact fostered through our grantee partners.

Thanks to the support of our own funders, we are steadily growing our capacity, striving to issue more grants, to more groups, across more countries and communities, because the sorrow and hardships of trans communities are still too often overlooked and inadequately addressed.

This last year, the ITF awarded its 5th grant cycle. We organized support and webinars for hundreds of our grantee partners and applicants, advocated for more resources to be made available, and mobilized funds for trans movements. And this was just the overture. The ITF continues to become an effective and sustainable long-term mechanism of resourcing trans-led groups, and a recognized partner for philanthropic engagement.

Chaber & Alejandra Collette Spinetti Núñez – Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee in 2021

Read the 2021 Annual Report

The ITF’s 7th Grant Cycle is Now Open!

The ITF is pleased to announce our 7th grant cycle! We welcome applications from trans-led organizations with budgets below $100,000 USD based in any region of the world. The deadline to apply is December 12, 2022 at 5pm (ET/New York time).

The ITF has two grant types:

  • SEED Grant (1-year)
    The SEED grant is a 1-year general support and/or project grant for trans-led organizations that have never been funded by the ITF, or that prefer to apply for this grant instead of the THRIVE Grant. Grants range from $10,000 to $25,000 USD/year.
  • THRIVE Grant (1-year)
    The THRIVE grant is a 1-year general support grant ONLY for trans-led organizations that have been previously funded by the ITF and are in good standing. Grants range from $25,000 to $50,000 USD/year.
The application forms and guidelines can be downloaded from our website (here). The forms are available in English, French, Russian, Simplified Chinese and Spanish.

In addition, between October 31st and November 9th, we are hosting Draft Review Service webinars and Funding webinars. You can find the dates and registration links here.

If you have questions, please contact [email protected]