Member Spotlight: Gender Justice

Member Spotlight


What is your organization’s issue focus?

Gender Justice envisions a world where everyone can thrive regardless of their gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Step by step, we’re creating that world by dismantling legal, structural, and cultural barriers that contribute to gender inequity. We work to ensure that people of all genders have a meaningful right to bodily autonomy, safety, health, and opportunity. Through this mission, we focus our work on legislative and legal advocacy around trans inclusion in sports and at school, gender affirming healthcare, reproductive freedom, and workplace discrimination.

What is something your organization is currently prioritizing? Can you tell our readers a little about the goals of the campaign/project?

We are currently prioritizing our work to protect and expand abortion access in Minnesota through the UnRestrict Minnesota campaign. The UnRestrict Minnesota campaign launched in 2019 to educate Minnesotans on the numerous abortion restrictions in the state, including: a 24-hour waiting period, an anti-abortion mandated script for providers, a ban on advanced practice clinicians from prescribing abortion medication, a two-parent notification requirement for minors, and others. A main goal of the campaign was to remove these restrictions through legal and legislative advocacy.

Through the campaign, we have built a cross-sector, multi-faith, and multi-racial coalition that includes clinics, abortion funds, LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, podcasts, doulas, clinicians, faith groups, organizers, and more. Together the coalition has mobilized tens of thousands of Minnesotans to advocate for the protection and expansion of abortion access across the state. Through this campaign we have successfully enjoined many of the state’s abortion restrictions and are close to removing them from law. Looking ahead, we want to ensure equitable access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare.

Do you have an “Advocacy Tip” to share or “Lesson Learned” while organizing this or other campaigns? Do you have any general words of wisdom that you’d like to share with other staff engaged in advocacy?

One big lesson that we learned while organizing this campaign is the importance of bringing many types of organizations and people together. We wanted to show decision makers that more than just pro-choice advocacy groups want bold action on abortion access. Bringing groups to the table that hadn’t historically talked about abortion played a huge role in making our case to decision makers.

It also allowed us to share skills and knowledge more easily. In moments where we needed to bring a lot of people together, we were able to lean on groups that already had an organizing infrastructure in place. When we needed to think through policy decisions and impacts, we were able to talk to providers and clinics about what would actually be most useful for patients. Having everyone at the table from the start of the campaign helped make the campaign more inclusive and more successful, and it demonstrated to decision makers that abortion access was a winning issue. Having the coalition already formed was also vital in being ready for the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Many of our member organizations work with both our Bolder Advocacy initiative and our Justice program. How has either or both most helped you? How have you worked with either or both?

We use the Bolder Advocacy materials often in our work!

Who inspires you? This can be an inspiration to you personally or an organizational inspiration.

A group of people that inspires us are the founders of the Reproductive Justice movement. Reproductive Justice is an organizing framework created by a group of black women activists in 1994. The group identified that the Human Rights model provided more possibilities in addressing the struggles of people who can get pregnant, especially people of color, in the United States than the privacy concepts of the pro-choice movement. The Reproductive Justice framework helps us to envision a world where every person can decide if when, and how to become a parent, raise children in safe and thriving communities; and have gender freedom and bodily autonomy. At Gender Justice and through the UnRestrict Minnesota campaign, we try to do our work with these broader goals always at the forefront.

All spotlights are written by AFJ members directly. Please reach out to membership@afj.org if you’d like to complete a member spotlight.