IRGT Governance

JoAnne Keatley


JoAnne Keatley received a Master of Social Welfare degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Beginning at UCSF in 1999, she was the founding Director of the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health. JoAnne was Co-Principal Investigator of the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS)-Transgender Evaluation and Technical Assistance (TETAC) Project. JoAnne has worked diligently to enhance transgender care services in California, the nation and the world. In partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), she co-authored the PAHO document “Blueprint for the Provision of Comprehensive Care to Transgender and Transsexual persons and their communities in Latin America and the Caribbean” that impacted the quality of transgender care throughout the region.

In 2015 she was co-chair of the development committee responsible for the TRANSIT, a UNDP, USAID and WHO sponsored guideline for working with transgender people. In 2016 she was a guest editor of the JIAS special issue HIV Epidemics among Transgender Populations. JoAnne has directed multiple federally funded research and HIV prevention projects and has consulted on transgender health at the World Health Organization, the NIH, CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA and at the White House.

JoAnne has received numerous awards and recognition including, in 2001, being the first staff recipient of the UCSF Chancellor's Award for LGBT Leadership, in 2009 the UCSF Martin Luther King Jr. Chancellor’s Award for advancing cultural diversity and social justice on campus, and in 2015 was recognized by the State of California for LGBT leadership. JoAnne was one of the original members and co-chairs of the IRGT while the organization was still a reference group. As IRGT evolved into a stand alone non profit she has worked with the IRGT executive committee to oversee it's incorporation and was honored in 2017 to be elected the organizations first Chair of the Board .

Abheena Aher

Vice Chair for Organizational Development

Abhina Aher is trans activist belonging to Hijra culture, working in Human right health and policy work for the past twenty years. She is currently working as Associate Director with India HIV/AIDS Alliance on gender, sexuality and rights projects. She was chair for Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN), consultant with Global Action for Trans* Equality (GATE), and currently serves as Vice chair on Organizational Development for Innovative Response to Trans Women Globally (IRGT).
She is one of the starring committee members of International Trans Fund (ITF). She is part of High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. She is founder member of the first trans dancing group called - Dancing Queens. She is supporting trans empowerment and social entitlement work through her new organization called Transgender Welfare Equity and Empowerment Trust (TWEET) india. She started her work with The Humsfar Trust as administrator back in 1998.

Leigh Ann van der Merwe

Vice Chair for External Communications/Social Media

L. Leigh Ann van der Merwe is a coloured transgender woman born in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Leigh Ann founded Social, Health and Empowerment and has conceptualized projects such as the African Transformative Feminist Leadership Institute and has co-authored the Transilience Research Report on violence against transgender women in South Africa.
She is versed in the human rights instruments of the United Nations. She considers herself an “intersectional” feminist. She holds a certificate in community journalism from UNISA and a postgraduate diploma in public health from UWC. She holds positions on various executive and advisory boards. Leigh Ann was recognized as a Women’s Human Rights Defender in December 2012.

Amrita Sarkar


Amrita is currently working with Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India (SAATHII). She is also an active member of TPATH (Transgender Professional Association for Transgender Health). From 2014 to 2016, she was a member of the Community, Rights and Gender Advisory group of the Global Fund. She was involved in the working group to develop TRANSIT, a global guideline to implement HIV and STI programmes with transgender people and lead an important chapter (community empowerment) for the guidelines.
In India, she led various programmes designed for the transgender community. One of them was to help build the capacity of trans-led organisations, which was supported by SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and was India’s first national level trans capacity building programme. She had been a part of the core working group, formed by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), India to design trans specific intervention programmes under NACP IV (National AIDS Control Programme – Phase IV).
She made two films on transgender issues and those were screened at various national and international platforms. As a trained Rabindrasangeet singer, she contributed to country’s first music album ‘Songs of the Caravan’, a unique album, where for the first time nine transgender people from all over India have come together on a professional platform and which was acknowledged in Limca Book of Records. She is also a trained counsellor and completed her post graduate diploma in social welfare.

Jana Villayzan Aguilar


Jana Villayzan Aguilar is a trans woman activist focused on Human Rights for trans women in Peru and Latin America and founder of RED TRANS PERU. Villayzan has a masters in public health focused on gender, sexuality, and reproductive health from the Peruvian University Cayetano Heredia.

She has collaborated with different research projects working with trans women in Peru. She has participated in social and epidemiological research on HIV and human rights issues.

Villayzan has over 16 years of experience and is the founder of the trans movement in Peru and is the Executive Director of Red Nacional por los Derechos de las Personas Travesties, Trangeneno y Transexual in Peru (RED Trans Peru).

Blessing Bryson

My name is Joseph Abdallah Dalidali,I was born in  1994 April of 22,I finished my primary level in 2009 at certain school called Academic international school, In 2012 I graduated my secondary education....And I joined college (Institute of Accounts Arusha) I took my certificate of Accounts in 2016.

Currently I’m working with organization called HEAT....(House of Empowerment and Awareness Tanzania) it deals with bringing of awareness especially for trans.

Manisha Dhakal

ManishaDhakal is transgender (male to female) LGBT rights activist from Kathmandu. She has been involving in Nepal’s LGBTI rights movement since 2001 through different projects on HIV/AIDS, human rights activism, constitutional campaigns, advocacy, capacity building, academic research, and others.
Manisha is currently the Executive Director of Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s leading LGBT rights organization.
Regionally, Manisha is one of the founder member  of the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network representing South Asia. She is elected as Co Chair of ILGA Asia Board.  She is also board member of IRGT.
She was awarded the “Nai Ram Laxmi” National award in 2010 for her contributions to the LGBTmovement in Nepal. On 21 December 2007, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a landmark verdict directing the government to enact laws enabling equal rights to LGBT citizens. Manisha was involved in court pleadings on this case on behalf of LGBT people before the SupremeCourt.
Manisha possesses a master’s degree in finance from Shanker Dev Collage, Kathmandu.

Devanand Milton

Devanand Milton is a Transgender who is actively involved in the planning, implementation and oversight of HIV and AIDS in Guyana. I am Vice Chair and Transgender representative on the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) for Global Fund in Guyana.

I have obtained formal education from Stewartville Secondary School and Nations University. At these institutions I obtained General Cambridge Certificates in the area of Science and a Diploma in Business Management and Finance from Cambridge University.

I am entrusted with the responsibility to share HIV prevention messages, encourages early HIV Counseling and Testing, referral for sexual health services, distribution of condoms and water base lubricants and distribution of Biological Behavior Communication materials. I also conduct Support Group Meetings with HIV+ and Key Population (KP) who was not tested in more than six months. I gave psychosocial support counseling to peers.  I also prepare monthly reports for review on HIV prevention progress.

I am also responsible to supervise and support grass roots individuals from the Key Population, in programmes relating to Stigma and Discrimination, Gender Base Violence, Counseling and Testing (HCT), Care and Treatment as well as programme monitoring and reporting - Technical and Financial. These two distant roles create an opportunity for me to understand HIV implementation both at programme and implementation level. I am able to understand the unique needs of Key Population while promoting interventions at programme level to meet these needs.

I am a NGO Delegation Member on UNAIDS PCB representing Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). This current portfolio also entails networking with both National and International Stakeholders so as to advance the cause and needs of Transgender individuals and members of the Key Population.

Musonda Mulopa

Musonda Mulopa is a transgender woman from Lusaka, Zambia, Africa. She is a Human Rights Activist, Paralegal, Feminist and passionate about the transwoman movement.
She holds a Degree in Human Resources Management and has never done any Human Resources work upon graduating from University because her area of interest is serving the transgender women movement.
Musonda is an active activist and advocate in the Zambian Transgender women movement and has fought many odds being in a Christian Country. She enjoys singing, reading, playing volleyball and badminton.

Alexandra Byerly Rodríguez Duran

Alexandra is a gender and sexuality freelance consultant, a published author, and an advocate for the human rights of transgender people, including trans migrants, trans sex workers, and trans people living with HIV.   She is a cofounder of El/La Para Trans Latinas, an organisation based in San Francisco CA, which provides support and services for transgender Latinas, including HIV prevention and helps them to empower themselves. She is currently a member of the Community Advisory Board for El/La Para Trans Latinas
Alexandra is an active member of IRGT Board of Directors  since 2016 and participated with the organising team of the First Trans Pre-Conference at the International AIDS Conference in Durban South Africa in July of 2016.
Alexandra currently lives in Mexico City, her hometown where she’s part of the LGBTQI movement and she’s also an avid activist organising and mobilising the trans-movement internationally, doing presentations and workshops, writing for various publications, and a personal project, a book of memoirs called Crucé La Frontera en Tacones®

Michelle Ross

Michelle Ross is Co-founder of cliniQ CIC and Director of Holistic Wellbeing Services and leads on cliniQ’s training programme  cliniQ was the first holistic sexual health HIV and Wellbeing Service in the UK founded by trans people for trans and non-binary people. cliniQ opened on 15th February 2012
She campaigns for trans and non binary people’s  inclusion in HIV prevention, and is an active member of Public Health England Community Advisory Board on The PrEP Impact Trial. She works internationally representing cliniQ and she is the convener of cliniQ’s series of conferences Trans Health Matters.