Women We Love 2022: Joy Chia

Joy Chia

by Rebecca L. Martin

“My career has taken quite a lot of twists and turns,” Joy Chia tells GO, “but a thread that runs through all of my experiences is that I have been driven by the quest for justice.” This thread is visible at each step of Chia’s decade-long career in philanthropy. She began her work at the Open Society Foundation (OSF), where she served first as the East Asia program officer, overseeing grant-making portfolios regarding human rights and equality in China, and subsequently as Team Manager of the Women’s Rights Program. She is now the Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, where she continues to pursue her vision for a more just and equitable future. As a lesbian, Asian, immigrant, person with disabilities, lawyer, wife, and mom, Chia understands that with multiple identities come multiple ways of seeing the world, and of being seen. “I hold Audre Lorde’s words close to my heart: ‘There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives,’” she says. “I don’t want to have to choose what parts of myself I should hold on to in order to live, and I don’t want others to have to make those choices as well.” Fortunately, thanks to the work of advocates like Chia, she doesn’t always have to choose: after the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Chia, who was born in Singapore, was able to marry her wife and “put down roots in the United States.” Still, she doesn’t take any victory for granted. “I recognize how precious and how fragile this is, and this is what motivates me in my work.” –AB

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