What has been your experience with launching your nonprofit? Has it lived up to your expectations?
It’s a lot of work, but I knew that going in. It’s an uphill battle and we’re still working through the preliminary matters of building the structure of our organization and getting our name out there. By this time next year, the work will still be difficult, but we will have put ourselves in a much better position.
How do you see Globalizing Gender evolving in the next few years?
Our goal is to create a gender just work through education, advocacy, law, governance, and technical assistance. Through this approach in multiple sectors, the opportunities for Globalizing Gender are exponential. Just looking at our work raising awareness of female genital cutting. In the next few years, I can see us broadening our scope and being much more inclusive with welcoming new partnerships.
Obviously female genital cutting is an incredibly difficult topic to discuss. Has this been an obstacle in your advocacy?
Absolutely. For one, this issue predominantly impacts women, specifically young immigrant women of color who live around the poverty line. The issue doesn’t normally strike the consciousness of the everyday American. However, the longer people ignore this issue, the more women will experience genital cutting. It’s important to remind people that at one point, issues such as abortion and statutory rape were deemed risqué and not generally discussed. Those issues should be discussed openly. Movements such as #MeToo and the Women's March have led to these open discussions. We are throwing another issue on the bandwagon in hope that we open conversation on this topic.
Does Globalizing Gender work within the transgender community?
Yes! Globalizing Gender is inclusive of all folks of all genders. When people hear that our organization works to create gender just world, they automatically assume that we are working solely on behalf of women. That’s not the case. We work for all individuals who are negatively impacted because of their gender, which includes those who identify as trans.
You’ve spent your life working to educate others on causes that need attention. What has been your most effective method to teach advocacy?
One of the niches in the work that I do is that I always make it a priority to be culturally aware. That doesn’t just mean that I will speak French in Francophone communities. It means I am aware of the ways in which those with whom I work understand justice. Justice is going to mean something different in different communities. I try to avoid a Western approach, even in America, as it’s likely that I will make a mistake. Moreover, we could leave a community lacking the resources they actually need. For example, when I work with people in the Bronx, I really have to hear from them first on what their needs are and how they understand the world around them. From there, our job is to compare their goals with the laws and restrictions of society to find common ground.
What are you most excited for in your upcoming partnership with Good Counsel?
For one, I'm excited for Globalizing Gender to become a fully incorporated nonprofit, which will bring us to our goal of creating a gender just world even quicker. I am also excited for our work with the other members of this current cohort, as well as with past cohort members. These are like-minded people that, together, form a powerful network. After doing this work for 20 years, I've found that [social change organizers] often work individually. Although we are working on different issues, we have a similar ideaology for change. I think it's going to be really powerful what happens with this network.