Sexuality Policy Watch

Astraea Launches the World’s First Intersex Human Rights Fund

Originally published on ASTRAEA’s website. Available at:,home-news

New York, New York, Oct 25, 2015

In a world where intersex activism has been resourced on a wing and a prayer, the significance of the Astraea Intersex Human Rights Fund can not be overstated.
Morgan Carpenter, of OII Australia

This Intersex Awareness Day, we are proud to announce the new Intersex Human Rights Fund 2015 grant recipients and voice our support for the activists who are leading a movement for intersex rights. The Fund awards nearly $200,000 in grants to 29 intersex-led grantee partners based in 20 counties.

What is the Astraea Intersex Human Rights Fund?

The first of its kind, the Intersex Human Rights Fund supports organizations, projects and campaigns led by intersex activists working to ensure the human rights, bodily autonomy, physical integrity and self-determination of intersex people worldwide. With the generous support of seed donors Kobi Conaway and Andrew Owen and a leadership gift from the Arcus Foundation, Astraea launched the Fund to support the resilience, creativity and growth of intersex activism and to address the dearth of funding for intersex issues and communities.

Why Intersex Rights? Why Now?

Astraea recognizes that the entrenched practice of organizing the world into the sex and gender binary has alarming and rights-violating consequences for intersex bodies. Intersex people face numerous challenges in all regions of the world. Intersex babies and children are widely subjected to non-consensual, medically unnecessary and harmful surgeries with life-long consequences, including sterilization and genital mutilation. Doctors often recommend these procedures to parents to address social anxiety and fear of stigma, rather than a concern for an intersex person’s well-being. The invisibility of intersex issues worldwide also contributes to the stigma, discrimination and violence that intersex people face.

In response, intersex activists are building an international movement and leading a push for rights and recognition around the world. “The Fund reflects the mobilization of intersex people at international, regional, national and local levels, and is informed by decades of intersex activism,” stated Ruth Baldacchino, Intersex Fund program officer at Astraea. “It is through such work that isolation is broken.”

About the Intersex Fund Grantee Partners

[The] Intersex Fund is just like fresh water to live on for our movement and community. It supports and keeps us surviving and continuing to work on intersex visibility.
Hiker Chiu, of OII Chinese

Intersex activists are working on translating non-pathologizing medical information into local languages, storytelling through the creation of books and documentaries, educating medical professionals, pushing for legal and policy change, and leading international human rights advocacy. From Beyond the Boundary in Hong Kong to Intersex Island in Reykjavik these groups are engaged in numerous strategies to promote the rights and self-determination of intersex people.

“Astraea is thrilled to support the brilliant and visionary activism led by intersex people demanding their rights around the world,” says Sarah Gunther, Astraea’s Director of Programs. “As a funder committed to gender justice and LGBTQI liberation, we are proud to support their uncompromising demands for respect, dignity and autonomy.”

“The creation of the Intersex Human Rights Fund is an important step in philanthropy towards addressing the full range of disparities found among intersex communities,” said Roz Lee, Arcus’ Social Justice Initiatives Director. “Arcus is proud to be a partner of this new fund that will provide critical support to the growing movement of leaders working to improve the lives of intersex people worldwide.”

To read more about our 2015 Intersex Fund grantees, stay up-to-date on their work and access Astraea’s informative toolkit on intersex human rights, visit the Fund’s website.

This October 26th, Intersex Awareness Day, Astraea is honored to further its support of activists and movements who dare to envision a world in which gender justice is not merely an idea but a reality.


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