The Cloud Dancers Foundation is the inspirational creation of trans activist and Out100 honoree Robina Asti, who passed away March 12, at the age of 99. The Foundation’s mission is to bring visibility to those who are forgotten and feel invisible, especially the elder transgender community. Asti’s final project was to celebrate her centennial birthday with a $100,000 for 100 Years initiative. Asti’s grandson and executive director of The Cloud Dancers Foundation, Erik Hummel, tells Out the Foundation will honor her final wish by carrying on with the project.
“Robina saw herself first and foremost as a human, and I think she'd want to be remembered as someone who cared deeply about her fellow human beings,” Hummel tells Out via email. “That's why she asked me to help found Cloud Dancers, as she wanted people who felt invisible to feel truly seen.”
Asti would have celebrated her 100th birthday on April 7, exactly one week after Transgender Day of Visibility. The Foundation's goal is to raise $100,000 to honor Asti by granting more wishes to their invisible friends in the elder transgender community.
The Cloud Dancers Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) with a mission to grant extraordinary wishes to those who feel invisible. Those wishing to participate in the $100k for 100 Years initiative can visit the Cloud Dancers’ GoFundMeCharity page, which has already received nearly $4,000 from 76 people so far. The Foundation has also launched a Wish Nomination Form for the community to help find more invisible people to whom they can grant wishes to in 2021.
Asti lived an amazing life, flying missions as a pilot in World War II before transitioning in the 1970s. She became an activist in her 90s, setting a precedent that rewrote the government’s policy for transgender widow benefits and creating the Cloud Dancers Foundation to support the “invisible” members of the LGBTQ+ community.
When asked how he thought his grandmother would like to be remembered, Hummel, tells Out he hopes she is “remembered for her love of life, her love for people, and for her desire for human beings to keep living no matter the circumstances,” especially those forgotten by society and the community.
“Robina took nothing for granted and she loved people,” Hummel reveals. “I will always be impacted by the way she saw the world and I hope to bring that spirit as we continue the work we started together with The Cloud Dancers Foundation.”
Those wishing to learn more about Asti’s amazing life and activism can visit the foundations website CloudDancers.org. Lambda Legal also featured Asti’s story in the short documentary Flying Solo: A Transgender Widow Fights Discrimination.