A leader and respected voice in the LGBTQ+ immigrant rights movement, Isa Noyola is deputy director of Mijente, a political, digital, and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing and movement building. She previously served as director of programs at Ford grantee Transgender Law Center, the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world where all people are free to define themselves and their futures.
As a TransLatina activist, Noyola knows the challenges trans leaders face in their activism on behalf of the community. “If you think about our leadership, if you think about trans-led organizations, if you think about who is really at the forefront of this work, there are very few of us,” she says. “Because so many of our leaders have been violently taken away from us. When I think about the trans women that started this work with me who are no longer with me, that actually has an impact in terms of my own ability to also step out and also be courageous for my community.”
Noyola advocates for trans people to achieve equal rights, not only before the law but also within society at large. Upholding trans rights is essential for equality and ensuring an equitable future for all.
“We’re looking for a cultural shift—that we’re actually a part of the fabric of everyday communities. We are not just settling for crumbs—that we’re not just settling for policy wins and bathroom accommodations. But actually, for everyone to really understand gender and to understand our lives in more complex ways.”
Noyola is part of the #FutureIsHers multimedia series of interviews, essays, and more, celebrating the innovators, risk-takers, and change-makers the Ford Foundation has proudly supported and the impact they’ve had on the lives of women and girls everywhere. Despite the many challenges women and girls face, around the world they’re rising up. Determined and persistent, they’re leading the way in showing us what gender justice looks like, disrupting inequality and creating a world where social change is possible: The future is hers.