We hope you feel moved to action not just by these stories of injustice, but also by the spirit of resistance and resilience that each group exhibits.
As we read through proposals this month for our Mobilize Power Fund, two things were undeniable: that violence is deeply affecting young women of color, and queer and trans youth and that though the level of community response to this violence is immense, it rarely receives funding or exposure in the media.
We hope you feel moved to action not just by these stories of injustice, but also by the spirit of resistance and resilience that each group exhibits.
This infographic shows the myriad obstacles on ones way to achieving a safe and legal abortion.
On the topic of this graphic, Jos Truit from Feministing writes:
This is intersectionality not as theory but lived reality, a snapshot of how multiple systems of oppression work together to keep people from accessing the health care they need. And it shows what many of us in the movement for abortion access keep saying: legal abortion means very little to many people when extreme barriers to access stand in their way.
'What it Really Takes to Get an Abortion' was originally published on Third Wave Foundation's website in 2011. Since it has been such a valuable tool for advocates and educators that we would bring it back to life on our new website. Enjoy!
THIRD WAVE FOUNDATION SUPPORTS THE WORK OF YOUNG PEOPLE TO MAKE POWERFUL CHANGE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.
As a progressive philanthropic institution, we are committed to strengthening organizations led by-and-for young women of color and transgender youth in low-income communities. Our grant partners work on a broad range of issues and employ myriad strategies, including challenging violence and gender-based inequity and claiming rights to economic opportunity, education, and health care. Through the work of our grant partners and through our philanthropic advocacy, we seek to shift historic and systemic forms of violence and oppression that are rooted in gender, race, and class inequity.
We do not believe that sex work is a cause of that violence or oppression, nor do we believe that seeking to prohibit safe and consensual sex work or the demand for it is the solution to eradicating gender-based inequity or violence. In fact, these attempts to criminalize sex work often have the unintended consequence of leaving young people even more vulnerable. Prohibitions on sex work — even when targeted at third-parties such as customers and advertising venues — criminalize young people and force them further underground in order to meet their survival needs. As a result, they are more vulnerable to violence and isolated from one another and from rights advocates.
THIRD WAVE SUPPORTS YOUNG PEOPLE ENGAGED IN SEX WORK AND IMPACTED BY THE SEX TRADE AS CRITICAL PARTNERS IN ENSURING HEALTH AND JUSTICE.
We at Third Wave are deeply concerned about the ways in which young women and transgender youth may be subject to abuse and violence in any aspect of their lives. Over the last decade of supporting this work, we have learned that young people come to sex work and the sex trade through a wide range of experiences that include choice, circumstance, and coercion. Our community of grant partners and allies includes sex workers, people involved in the sex trade and street economies, and people who have been trafficked. Regardless of how young people are involved in or are impacted by the sex trade, they must be considered partners in the work of advocating for rights and achieving justice.
WE RECOGNIZE AND AFFIRM A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEX WORK AND TRAFFICKING, AND URGE POLICYMAKERS AND ALLIES IN HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY TO APPROACH THESE ISSUES WITH RESPECT FOR THAT DIFFERENCE.
These are nuanced and deeply complex concerns. Pursuing a plan of action to address violence, coercion, or trafficking without considering the needs and leadership of young people with direct experience in sex work and the sex trade will result in solutions that do not fully address the harms that young people face. Nor will advocates benefit from the depth of their expertise.
WITH OUR SUPPORT, YOUNG PEOPLE ENGAGED IN SEX WORK AND WHO ARE IMPACTED BY THE SEX TRADE ARE ORGANIZING IN THEIR COMMUNITIES AND ACHIEVING WINS.
Across the US, our grant partners are supporting one another to create smart solutions that are rooted in their day-to-day realities.
WE VALUE THE FULL RANGE OF EXPERIENCES OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO DO SEX WORK AND ARE IMPACTED BY THE SEX TRADE, AND SUPPORT WORK THAT BUILDS THEIR POWER AND AGENCY.
It is a step forward for policymakers and advocates to recognize that young people who do sex work or who are impacted by the sex trade are not criminals. We must also recognize that not all young people who do sex work and who are impacted by the sex trade are victims.
Partnerships between young people and adult allies must support the vision and leadership of young people. We work in collaboration with young people to secure the resources they need to continue creating a healthy and just world. We urge policymakers who seek to protect young people from violence to include young people’s expertise at every level of their decision-making. We also urge our community partners and allies to center the voices and experiences of young people who do sex work and who are impacted by the sex trade when advocating for their human rights.
Written by: Melissa Gira Grant
Originally published by Third Wave Foundation September 17th, 2010
Outrage and heartbreak. Direct Action. Civil Disobedience. People are responding to the murder of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and the subsequent lack of indictment of the white police officers who killed them. People all over the place are declaring #BlackLivesMatter, and demanding justice. There’s been a proliferation of important writing on how state violence and racial injustice impacts the lives of women of color and LGBT people of color. We’ve compiled our 6 favorite in the hope that the conversation around state violence and criminalization includes an understanding of gender, race, and sexuality.
1.ééKimberle Crenshaw’s stand out interview with Salon.
“At this period of time, I think it behooves folks to look for those infrastructures that are on the ground that are able to continuously mobilize people. But, of course, at the same time, what Martin Luther King and the other visionaries brought to it was frames that could mobilize people and keep them moving forward.
I think some of that is happening with Black Lives Matter and making the links between anti-black racism, other forms of racism, other bodies that are controlled by the state, including women and LGB and trans people. I think the challenge now is coming up with a capacious enough frame that lines up people who are marching in the street with the people who are negotiating with the elected officials. With the folks who have other regulatory power who can say, Doing nothing is no longer an option. This level of social unrest will not go away.”
2. The Groundswell Fund’s Statement on Michael Brown naming that patterns of racial injustice are a reproductive justice issue.
“Michael Brown was a son who is loved and will be dearly missed. He was separated from his family by state-sanctioned murder. Marissa Alexander is a single mother with a human right to love and raise her children. She is being separated from her young children through incarceration. These separations are part of a long legacy of reproductive justice violations against communities of color that continue at epidemic levels today… Reproductive justice cannot be achieved until the state-sanctioned violence that separates our families is brought to a halt.”
3. Dee Rees calls out the Human Rights Campaign for ignoring the LGBT communities of color.
“It seems callous and blind to celebrate gains in marriage equality on one hand while in the very same moment, the civil rights of a major section of the LGBTQ community are being grossly violated. The Human Rights Campaign's visible, vocal support would be momentous in bolstering the sustained national critique and reinforcing the ‘in the streets’ protests that are happening all around the nation. Our civil rights are under attack.”
4. Alicia Garza’s herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
“I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.
Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
5. The Audre Lorde Project and FIERCE’s statement of solidarity for the people of Ferguson and communities of people affected by racist state violence.
“We refuse to accept a single issue struggle that positions our struggles as somehow contradictory. We commit ourselves to a truly intersectional vision of social justice that uplifts the collective power, safety and well being of all our communities. We understand the routine surveillance, criminalization, and incarceration of communities of color in this country as not only a crisis of racial profiling, but also gender policing. We affirm the experiences and leadership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two spirit, and gender non-conforming people of color who are often erased from the telling of our movement histories even as we are often and consistently at the front lines.”
6. Colorlines’ compilation of black feminists’ responses to Ferguson.
“Here at Colorlines, the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri, set off by the police killing of Michael Brown, has subsumed our collective attention and energy going on two weeks now. As the gender columnist, I decided to take a look at how Black feminists have been responding to the situation. While the issue of gender (beyond the policing of black masculinity and the crisis facing black men and boys) has taken a back seat in the mainstream conversation, black feminists have been keeping the intersectional analysis alive in their coverage and commentary.”
These are just a few examples of the powerful conversations happening right now. If you have any others that struck you as particularly strong, interesting, or just worth reading, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
“You decided to spend your summer doing that? Why didn’t you go out and get a real job, like last year?”
If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard that this summer, I’d be so loaded that I wouldn’t even need that supposed “real job.” I guess some level of skepticism makes sense: I’m a college student who lives in microscopic town where the word “feminism” isn’t exactly popular. So what would make me want to spend my summer interning for an organization like Third Wave? My friends and family know that I’m a radical feminist, and they know that I’m queer, but most of them can’t answer that simple question.
Most of my friends will get angry when faced with bigotry, but not many of them have gotten to use that energy to fight back positively. This is a huge part of the reason why I wanted to become an intern at Third Wave: I saw it as an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself. Here in this tiny corner of the world, I am also in the thick of the gender justice movement – joining conversations, keeping people informed, and learning a little more about the activist community.
While I was putting together the Third Wave site’s Past Grant Initiatives page, it was like reading a history book and realizing that and some point I would become a part of it, in my own small way. Seeing the incredible things that these organizations have accomplished over the years made me realize that such work wouldn’t have been possible without the deeds of young people like me. I doubt there are many leaders who would willingly give control of their organization’s social media to a 19 year old (thanks, Rye!). And that’s what’s so exciting about Third Wave: it’s an organization that recognizes the power of young minds.
But if we don’t support the youth leaders who are rising up to address our country’s most daunting problems, what kind of social justice movement are we actually building? How can the movement itself be strong without supporting the strengths of young people? There are plenty of organizations out there that know young people have power, and those are the organizations that must be supported.
Every day I am inspired by the work of these organizations. And looking into the future, I would invite others to do the same: find organizations that inspire you, the ones that value what you value, the ones that keep you smiling when the haters try to bring you down. Connect with those organizations and show them that you care. Simple acts like filling out a Why it Matters form or donating $5 a month are more significant than you may realize.
Why didn’t I go out and get a “real job” this summer? Because instead I got the chance to do something that I’m actually passionate about. This was how I chose to show my support, what will you do?
On June 5th the governor of New York enacted a new policy that removes the surgical requirement for gender marker changes on birth certificates. This means that the New York Department of Health will now allow someone to change their birth certificate without having to provide proof of gender reassignment surgery or hormonal treatments. The removal of these barriers makes it much easier for transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) New Yorkers to get matching identification documents.
Many everyday activities, like driving, buying alcohol, going to the doctor, and applying for a job require identity documents that mark your gender as either male or female. These everyday activities can easily become sites of violence, discrimination and criminalization when your ID does not match your identity or appearance.
Why is this policy win so important you might ask? Many trans individuals do not undergo surgery or hormonal treatments for a variety of reasons -- sometimes it’s the true expression of their gender identity and bodily desires, and sometimes it’s due to the incredibly high cost of treatment. Pair the high cost of surgery and hormone treatment with the high level of employment discrimination that trans and GNC people regularly experience (yes, even in NYC...) and you can understand why this new policy is an economic justice win.
Identity documents that reflect your gender identity and/or gender expression bring not only dignity to trans and GNC people, but it also lowers the amount of violence they experience within institutions like schools, prisons, detention centers, and hospitals. We also know that this and this violence disproportionately targets trans women and trans people of color. Many groups have been advocating for this change for several years, including the NYCLU, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and Third Wave’s grantee, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP).
There is no doubt that this is a significant step forward for the rights of trans and GNC New Yorkers. However, identity documents are not the root cause of violence against trans and GNC people which is why Third Wave has been a proud funder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project which works on issues such as transphobia, racism, misogyny healthcare, and community organizing. We also want to recognize that this policy win does not address the inadequacies of having only two legally recognized genders. We’re delighted to see that this year the Indian government has officially recognized a third gender and that over half a million people have already registered!
We hope that this gain also helps to support other campaigns that are fighting for trans justice in NY, such as the SRLP’s current mission to end the Medicaid ban on transgender healthcare. You can learn more about this campaign by clicking here.
Read more about the new gender marker policy here. This is exciting news, and we hope that it will inspire others to carry on with this important fight for gender justice!
Three Reasons Why I am Giving to Third Wave Fund
Why, you might ask, is Ben Francisco Maulbeck, a (mostly) cisgender gay Puerto Rican man, giving to a feminist foundation? I'm so glad you asked. I have not one but three reasons!
1) Because I believe that feminism is essential to liberation for all of us.
Going back to that dystopian period of life known as middle school, my earliest experiences with human cruelty were due not so much to homophobia as to sexism and transphobia. I was called a faggot because I was expressive of my feelings in a way that was expected of girls but forbidden of boys. I was physically harassed by my peers because my manner was too gentle, my tone of voice too soft.
I believe in Third Wave Fund, because it supports inspiring young leaders fighting for all our liberation, for a world where no one's dreams will be shackled by their assigned gender.
2) Because I believe in the power of grassroots philanthropy.
My first experience with philanthropy was in the Catholic community that my family was part of, and my first job was at a community foundation. In both cases, I saw how powerful it is when a group of people comes together to build resources to make change for our communities.
Third Wave is bringing together an intergenerational, multiracial community of donors united by our belief in a transformational movement for gender justice. THAT is something I want to be part of.
3) Because I believe in Rye.
Those of us in the philanthropy biz often say that, ultimately, people give to people, to leaders we believe in. I know that's true in my own personal giving. From the moment I met Rye Young, I was blown away by his insightful analysis, his capacity to connect with others in an authentic way, and his visionary leadership. And I've only become more impressed with him these past few months as he's stepped into his new role as the Director of the Third Wave Fund—making him one of the first transgender leaders to hold an executive role in philanthropy.
I am confident that Rye is the perfect person to build Third Wave into a bold, trailblazing philanthropy for gender justice, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to support his vision and leadership.
If, like me, you believe that LGBTQ liberation and gender justice are one and the same, I hope that you'll join me in making a donation to the Third Wave Fund.
Ben Francisco Maulbeck
"First 100" Donor
Around the country people are rising up against the Pregnancy Criminalization bill, SB-1391. This photo is a snapshot of the work former grantee Young Women United is doing with young women who have been using and are pregnant. Their voices need to be heard! Organizations such as SisterSong, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network among many more are rallying people to urge the veto of the bill.
To learn more, this RH Reality Check article helps explain what impact we can expect from the bill. And to take action now, this link will take you to a petition to veto the bill and its inevitable criminalization of young women, women of color, and as the article points out black women in particular,
As the Obama Administration nears two million deportations, Third Wave Fund is proud to stand strong against this inhumane practice with a wide range of sister organizations including current and former grantee partners, Southerners on New Ground (SONG), Colorado Anti-Violence Project, Media Literacy Project, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.
It is not a coincidence that so many of our amazing gender justice grantees are on the letter bellow.;It is because deportation impacts women of color, queer and trans people, youth, and families. In addition to standing for human rights, Third Wave Fund is signing this letter to draw attention to the particular ways that women and LGBTQ people experience deportation, criminalization, and denial of their most basic human rights.
This campaign goes beyond internet activism- check out these wonderful actions you can participate in not one day, but now: http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/take-action/april-5th-day-of-action-against-deportations/