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Women's Studies & Issues

2023 TIME women of the year; Megan Rapinoe among honorees

Next week Time hosts the second annual Women of the Year Gala in L.A. on International Women’s Day with a performance by Bridgers



Ayisha Siddiqa on Time‘s Women of the Year issue cover in March 2023. (Photo by Josefina Santos)

NEW YORK – “Creating a better future for women means building bridges—across generations” is the introduction to this year’s group of extraordinary women leaders chosen by the editors of TIME as the magazine releases the 2023 TIME Women of the Year list.

“A defining project at TIME is the study of influence—who has it, what form it takes, and what it means to wield it. Our annual Women of the Year list examines the most uplifting form of influence by spotlighting leaders who are using their voices to fight for a more equal world,” write TIME Executive Editor Naina Bajekal and Senior Editor Lucy Feldman.

Bajekal and Feldman also noted: “The 12 women featured on this year’s list come from across the globe and have made significant impact in their respective communities and fields, from activism and government to sports and the arts. Many of them have faced immense challenges that inspired them to push for change.”

Among the 12 honorees this year is Out lesbian FIFA World Cup winner and activist Megan Rapinoe. She has championed initiatives to fight for compensation equal to that which is earned by her male counterparts and last summer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House by President Joe Biden.

President Joe Biden awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to lesbian soccer star Megan Rapinoe on Thursday July 7, 2022 (Screenshot/YouTube White House Channel)

To celebrate, TIME will host the second annual invite-only TIME Women of the Year Gala on International Women’s Day, Wednesday,  March 8, in Los Angeles. The event will feature appearances from Women of the Year honorees including Cate Blanchett, Ayisha Siddiqa, Angela Bassett, Quinta Brunson, Ramla Ali, Olena Shevchenko, Masih Alinejad, as well as a special musical performance by Phoebe Bridgers.

Highlights from the 2023 Women of the year: 

On Cate Blanchett: “Blanchett is aware… that one global problem connects to another, and yet another. The climate crisis, she says, is one of the biggest challenges we face as a species, and she’s alarmed by the amount of waste she sees in her line of work in particular… At the heart of that evolution is creativity, which demands building on past experience but also being perpetually open to change.” 

On Ayisha Siddiqa: “For the 24-year-old Pakistani human-rights and climate defender, poetry represents hope—a way to bring humanity back into the staid, high-level conversations that increasingly occupy her time… she’s helping to create a system of support that breaks down silos between intergovernmental leaders and local activists, as well as pushing to integrate the rights of humans and nature alike into climate law” 

On Megan Rapinoe: “The most visible and outspoken member of the back-to-back World Cup–winning team, Rapinoe led a movement that’s been adopted by players in other countries including Canada and Spain and has inspired women across fields to demand equal pay. Rapinoe, 37, will play in her final World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand.” 

On Phoebe Bridgers: “Five years since she launched her career, Bridgers, 28, has a dedicated base of fans who she thinks of as being like-­minded; sometimes, speaking out on the issues that matter to her can feel like adding more noise to an echo chamber. But then there are moments like this, when she watches a young person walk away from her, led by adults who probably don’t like her music any more than they like her message. And that’s when she recognizes that her voice has power.” 

On Quinta Brunson: “As a rising leader in Hollywood, she hopes she’s setting an example for Black children every­where, showing them that they can achieve their goals, no matter where they come from. And for fans of the show, she wants to underscore the value of school communities.” 

On Angela Bassett: “Bassett is making Oscars history after playing another kind of royal, the Queen Mother of Wakanda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, snagging Marvel’s first acting nomination…She says her experience playing characters that embody so many things at once has helped her realize it’s OK not to be everything to everyone all the time.” 

On Makiko Ono: “Worth some $10.4 billion, Suntory is the most valuable company under female leadership in Japan, where less than 1% of the top stratum of listed firms have a woman as CEO.” 

Astha Rajvanshi on Masih Alinejad: “Exiled from Iran since 2009, the journalist and activist has long spoken out against Iran’s restrictions on women…. Her campaign alarmed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who not only rails against her in speeches but even sent his minions to kidnap her…. a similar plot was to end in assassination, according to a U.S. Justice Department indictment.” 

On Verónica Cruz Sánchez: “Over the past 18 months, Cruz, a pragmatic, fast-talking 52-year-old who has campaigned for social-­justice organizations since she was a teen, has expanded Las Libres into the U.S. After the Texas legislature passed a near total abortion ban in May 2021…. Las Libres now counts around 300 volunteers in the U.S., who have so far assisted some 10,000 women.” 

On Olena Shevchenko: “Since she co-founded the Kyiv-based nonprofit Insight in 2017 to support women and LGBTQI communities, she’s become one of the most recognizable advocates in Ukraine, and has been attacked seven times in the past five years.” 

On Anielle Franco: “Franco took office in January as minister for racial equality…Her task is to make sure Lula’s government delivers on his promise of equality for Black and Indigenous Brazilians.” 

On Ramla Ali: “Ali, 33, won the 10-round battle against Australia’s Avril Mathie in a unanimous decision that kept her undefeated as a pro.…In 2018, she started Sisters Club, a nonprofit that offers boxing lessons to women who don’t usually enjoy access to the sport: those from ethnic or religious minority backgrounds, as well as survivors of domestic abuse. Sisters Club has expanded to four locations in London, opened a branch in Los Angeles, and will soon add another one in Fort Worth. .” 


Women's Studies & Issues

“Transmutation: A Ceremony,” A virtual theater project

“Transmutation: A Ceremony” will be streamed virtually on Sunday, November 21st from 2:00-4:00pm PST



Transmutation - A Ceremony (Cast Photo by Don Keita Azu)

LOS ANGELES – A virtual theater project featuring Black Trans women and Non-Binary and Intersex femmes sharing stories of surviving child sexual abuse and visions of healing, premieres online Sunday, November 21st.

Mirror Memoirs, a national storytelling and organizing project intervening in rape culture by uplifting the narratives, healing and leadership of LGBTQI+ Black and Indigenous people and other people of color who survived child sexual abuse is presenting a theater performance of “Transmutation: A Ceremony.”

This production features sacred storytellers Samantha Jo Dato, Ebony Ava Harper, Alexandra Magallon and Sydney Rogers.

These four Black and Afro-Latinx transgender, non-binary and intersex survivors of child sexual abuse to share their true stories of survival, and their visions of healing and the world we need and deserve, was written and directed by Luna Merbruja, Amita Swadhin, and Jaden Fields, based on the writings of and interviews with the cast members.

Cast member Ebony Ava Harper, who also serves on the Mirror Memoirs Board, remarked, “We are going deep into our childhood and revealing the intersections and the nuance that comes with our experience. And it will be an eye opening experience and a freedom experience, not only for the participants, but for the viewer. So I’m asking you to come and be a part of this family, and get your healing as well. This is a healing ceremony. And it’s to heal you as well as us.”

Cast member Sydney Rogers shared, “Transmutation is something very near and dear to my heart. It’s a project that I’ve always wanted to express and heal and speak and voice what has happened to me, what has happened to us. This project will open a lot of people’s eyes to the baggage and the healing that a lot of us in leadership roles carry around with us. So I invite you to get your ticket, sit back, and join us in this journey. And become aware of the people in your life. And maybe some things will come up for you, as well.”

Reflecting on this show’s importance, Mirror Memoirs Founder Amita Swadhin said:

‘Transmutation’ is my offering to correct for the omission of trans women in ‘Secret Survivors.’ Since the production of that show a decade ago, I’ve learned from the American Academy of Pediatrics that gender non-conforming children ages 11 to 17 who were assigned male at birth are up to six times likelier than their peers to be raped or sexually assaulted.

When you consider the US Centers for Disease Control has found that, in general, 1 in 6 boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by age 18, the reality is alarming. All of us who are committed to movements to end rape culture should be following the leadership of trans women of color who survived child sexual abuse.”

“Transmutation: A Ceremony” is inspired by the theatrical performance “Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors,” conceived in 2009 by Mirror Memoirs Founding Co-Director Amita Swadhin, featuring Amita and survivor storytellers Gabby Amazi Callender, RJ Maccani, Di Sands and the late Lucia Leandro Gimeno, and written, directed and produced by the off-off Broadway Ping Chong + Company. 

“Transmutation: A Ceremony” was filmed in advance at the Aratani Theater in Los Angeles, and will be streamed virtually on Sunday, November 21st from 2:00-4:00pm PST (5:00-7:00pm EST), closing out Trans Awareness Week. Following the performance, there will be a real-time virtual panel featuring members of the cast and directorial team. 

Tickets are free, but donations are encouraged to cover the production costs. For more information and to reserve tickets:

The show, 90 minutes in length, will feature captions in English and Spanish, and the 30 minute panel of directors and cast members after the show will include ASL and Spanish interpretation and live captioning. 

This performance is supported in part by an arts grant from the City of West Hollywood, additional grants from the California LGBT Arts Alliance, Asian Women Giving Circle, Jenny Phillips Future Freedoms Fund, and Tory Burch Foundation, and donations from numerous individuals.

Mirror Memoirs, a national storytelling and organizing project intervening in rape culture by uplifting the narratives, healing and leadership of LGBTQI+ Black and Indigenous people and other people of color who survived child sexual abuse, is a project of Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.

The project was founded in 2016, when Amita Swadhin received a fellowship from the Just Beginnings Collaborative. You can follow Mirror Memoirs on Facebook, on Instagram at @mirror.memoirs or on Twitter at @mirrormemoirs.

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Women's Studies & Issues

Survey aimed at women who partner with other women launches

Garnering 5,200 respondents to date, this unique effort is led by veteran queer, lesbian, bi, trans, nonbinary, researchers and activists



(Graphic courtesy of the National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey)

NEW YORK – The National LGBTQ+ Women’s Community Survey recently launched a community-based research and organizing effort to learn from the experiences of women who partner with other women and gather groundbreaking data. 

Garnering 5,200 respondents to date, this unique effort is led by veteran queer, lesbian, bi, trans, nonbinary, researchers and activists.  The survey is designed to discover all we know and do not know about the life experience of LGBTQ+ women who partner with women.  Aiming for 20,000 participants, the study will be in the field until December 15, 2021.

Comprised of more than 100 questions, the project team seeks a holistic understanding of how LGBTQ+ women self-identify, what they experience, and what it is like to live as a LGBTQ+ woman now, in 2021. 

The initiative’s goal is to ensure that LGBTQ+ women who partner with women are better understood across a vibrant range of genders, ages, races, and sexual and material experiences. The research effort aims to highlight and interject issues affecting LGBTQ+ women who partner with other women in the policy and service agendas of queer and social justice organizations.

Justice Work, the think-tank and action lab led by former National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Urvashi Vaid, organized the survey project over the past three years, recruiting a team led by Research Director Dr. Jaime Grant whose ground-breaking work includes the National Transgender Discrimination Study (2011).

The team includes Principal Investigator Dr. Alyasah Ali Sewell, Emory University, Dr. Carla Sutherland, an international and domestic researcher in social policy and an experienced advisory team of leading LGBTQ+ activists, scholars and researchers.

The Survey was designed through many workshops, conversations, social media outreach and community partnerships with LGBTQ+ organizations to develop a vehicle that allowed the team to gain a better understanding of  LGBTQ+ women’s life experiences in order to ensure that community organizations, healthcare systems, and rights organizations can better serve them, bringing invisible challenges and strengths to light.

“Existing research about LGBTQ+ women excludes so many of us because it’s often centered in sexual behavior rather than identity,” said Dr. Grant, Research Director of the survey. “We wanted people to see the full scope of our community — all of us who did, have or do identify as women and/or have partnered with women. Hence, our study has deep, community-centered questions about identity, so that we can see people in all their nuances.  We want to be able to report on what’s happening in the  collective as well as point out specific vulnerabilities” 

Urvashi Vaid at the Vaid Group noted: “Queer women’s lives are so varied and plural. We want to invite all women who have partnered with other women to share their experience of family, work, life, identity, gender, race, community, discrimination and resilience, and much more. Our goal is to bring forward real life experience to inform policy change, service delivery and action to support  LGBTQ+ women.”

Dr. Alyasah Ali Sewell, Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory University, serves at the Principal Investigator and data expert on the project, which is being hosted by Emory.  Dr. Sewell, whose work has focused on race and policing, notes: “We don’t want just the largest sample of LGBTQ+ women’s experiences – we need a truly representative sample.  We intend to reach into LGBTQ+ women’s communities that are largely unseen or dismissed.”

The survey is distributed online, available in English and Spanish, and is for anyone who has identified as an LGBTQ+ woman who partners with women at any point in their lives. The survey is also available to distribute to community groups, social networks, book groups, faith communities, sports leagues, support groups, and institutions.

(La encuesta se distribuye en línea, está disponible en inglés y español, y es para cualquier persona que se haya identificado como una mujer LGBTQ + que se asocia con mujeres en cualquier momento de sus vidas. La encuesta también está disponible para distribuir a grupos comunitarios, redes sociales, grupos de libros, comunidades religiosas, ligas deportivas, grupos de apoyo e instituciones.)

All data gathered is completely anonymous and confidential. It is available to take at

(Todos los datos recopilados son completamente anónimos y confidenciales. Está disponible para tomar en

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