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Marking the day of uplift: #TransLivesMatter

Written by: Janani Bala

On the eve of Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) and marking the day of uplift for #TransLivesMatter, we continue to have a great deal to mourn. Every 32 hours a trans woman is reported murdered. 2013 was a record year for violence against LGBTQ people, with a 29% increase over the year previous. 53% of LGBT homicide victims were trans women. Proximity to transphobic and homophobic violence is determined by race, class, gender, geography, etc—89% of LGBT homicide victims are people of color. We can’t separate our understanding of gender liberation from racial and economic justice. Some of the worst sites of anti-trans violence continue to be prisons, detention centers, and police encounters.

Trans people seeking asylum for gender-based violence, for example, are frequently detained and face continued rates of gender and sexual violence within detention centers. Rates of sexual assault in detention are 15 times higher for queer people than their heterosexual counterparts. Trans people, especially trans women, face additional violences in detention including in immigration detention: misgendering, lack of appropriate healthcare access, and anti-trans harassment and violence.

As immigrant and/or diasporic people, our take on trans work is not just about respecting pronouns. It’s about reclaiming models of trans-ness/gender self-determination that have been erased—through war, colonialism, genocide—from our ancestry and archives. We have to bring our communities with us. It’s about a trans politics that holds non-English speakers and ways of giving voice to gender justice in our original tongues. It’s about trans politics that centers undocumented people, incarcerated people, detained people, deported people. It’s about acknowledging that not all of us have access to spaces or capital to express our genders and bodies, about valuing both visibility and invisibility. It means that when Filipin@ and queer/trans activists demand #JusticeForJennifer (Jennifer Laude),  trans woman murdered by a US soldier in the Phillipines, it is a move towards both demilitarization and deescalation of gender-based violence. Violence against trans people escalates under militarism, under police, under prison culture—those systems actually necessitate gender policing and therefore anti-trans violence.

We can’t continue to view trans justice as only a matter of honoring our dead, however. How can we support trans activists who are doing the constant work of manifesting gender justice now? Our comrades need both our resources and energy. Here are some steps you can take immediately:

1. Sign this petition in solidarity with Jennifer Laude

2. If you have the means available to you, consider giving to a fund for grassroots trans-led organizing.

A message from NQAPIA: Join NQAPIA, GABRIELA USA and API Equality-Northern California for #transwk in raising visibility of AAPI Trans communities. Share your stories of empowerment and honor those we’ve lost.

Sample Tweets:

  • If we are committed to trans life, we must be committed to ending military and police violence #Justice4Jennifer #TransLivesMatter #TDOR
  • 89% of LGBT hate violence victims are POC. Anti-queer violence is racialized. #TransLivesMatter #TDOR
  • Trans solidarity looks like RESOURCING our community, while also honoring our dead.  #TransLivesMatter #TDOR
  • Jennifer Laude’s life and death is about both trans and anti-colonial justice–the two are linked. #Justice4Jennifer #TDOR
  • Jennifer Laude’s death is a product of both militarization and anti-trans violence. Demand justice: bit.ly/justice4jennifer #Justice4Jennifer

Transitions: New Knowledge and New Arrivals

The 13th Annual Philadelphia Transhealth Conference took place this week, and NQAPIA was on hand along with 3,000 of our closest friends in trans and gender non-conforming communities from around the country. NQAPIA led a workshop on “Creating Multilingual Resources for Parents of Transgender AAPIs” and brought together an informal meet-up of our friends and family to share a meal and share information about local and national work.

Many of our friends and allies provided great programming throughout the conference. We has a total #nerdcrush at the opening keynote for Janet Mock as she talked about her upbringing in Hawai`i, the current conversations about transgender women of color, and what it means for all of us. The Friday keynote featured our friend Harper Jean Tobin from the National Center for Transgender Equality about her work on a wide array of issues of concern to transgender communities, including NCTE’s work on immigration and immigration detention centers, with which NQAPIA has been a proud partner.

This week, NQAPIA also welcomed our summer 2014 intern. Rothana Oun comes to us from Georgia State University via the internship program at OCA: Asian Pacific American Advocates. His own journey to Washington, DC has been an interesting one, and throughout the course of the summer, he will be sharing highlights with us all. Below is his first installment:

 

My name is Rothana Oun. I am a first-generation college senior at Georgia State University in Atlanta,GA, studying Creative Writing, Asian Studies, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. I am second-generation Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA). Of Cambodian/Chinese/Thai descent, which means, to make use of the retronymic slash, I do/am Asian. I do/am many things in addition to a myriad of identities and performativities of which I am proud to partake in. That is to say, I not only do/am Asian, I do/am Queer as well.

This summer, I am interning with NQAPIA (The National Queer Asian Pacific Alliance) through OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates in Washington DC. An Atlanta native more acquainted with grass-roots community organizing, advocacy, and activisms on a state and local level, I have traveled from the South to D.C. to learn more about politics on the federal level, API (Asian Pacific Islander) and Queer politics in particular, and about the processes of policy and legislation in the so-called political heart of the nation.

Today, in fact, marks the end of the first week of my internship. And I’ve done so much it seems already. But I can’t wait to do and experience more.

On my first day at work, for example, I did my first spreadsheet ever on Excel, which I have to admit was kinda cool in a “not so sexy way” experience to have working in a formal office-environment. Even more excitingly, I attended an ice-cream social on my first day, and after work, my boss took me out to meet up with some of his friends/colleagues  from the Queer Southeast Asian Network who happened to be in town for a conference. This event marked the first time in my life that I had ever come face-to-face with fellow Southeast Asians—who not only openly identified as Queer, but who were also involved in progressive and/or radical politics.

Back home in Atlanta, whenever I attend a local demonstration, protest, rally, or participate in radical/progressive spaces, I find that I am often the only Southeast Asian, and most times than not, the only API present in such contexts. So meeting these Queer Southeast Asian activists was exhilarating and honestly one of the best things that I have ever experienced. Most, if not all of the cool peeps that I met that night are now my friends on Facebook, which means of course, that our connections are now pretty legit lol.

Cheers! To networking, to building family aways-aways from home.

Until next time, yours truly,

The Rothster

 

Transitions- New Knowledge and New Arrivals

The 13th Annual Philadelphia Transhealth Conference took place this week, and NQAPIA was on hand along with 3,000 of our closest friends in trans and gender non-conforming communities from around the country. NQAPIA led a workshop on “Creating Multilingual Resources for Parents of Transgender AAPIs” and brought together an informal meet-up of our friends and family to share a meal and share information about local and national work.

Many of our friends and allies provided great programming throughout the conference. We has a total #nerdcrush at the opening keynote for Janet Mock as she talked about her upbringing in Hawai`i, the current conversations about transgender women of color, and what it means for all of us. The Friday keynote featured our friend Harper Jean Tobin from the National Center for Transgender Equality about her work on a wide array of issues of concern to transgender communities, including NCTE’s work on immigration and immigration detention centers, with which NQAPIA has been a proud partner.

This week, NQAPIA also welcomed our summer 2014 intern. Rothana Oun comes to us from Georgia State University via the internship program at OCA: Asian Pacific American Advocates. His own journey to Washington, DC has been an interesting one, and throughout the course of the summer, he will be sharing highlights with us all. Below is his first installment:

 

My name is Rothana Oun. I am a first-generation college senior at Georgia State University in Atlanta,GA, studying Creative Writing, Asian Studies, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. I am second-generation Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA). Of Cambodian/Chinese/Thai descent, which means, to make use of the retronymic slash, I do/am Asian. I do/am many things in addition to a myriad of identities and performativities of which I am proud to partake in. That is to say, I not only do/am Asian, I do/am Queer as well.

This summer, I am interning with NQAPIA (The National Queer Asian Pacific Alliance) through OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates in Washington DC. An Atlanta native more acquainted with grass-roots community organizing, advocacy, and activisms on a state and local level, I have traveled from the South to D.C. to learn more about politics on the federal level, API (Asian Pacific Islander) and Queer politics in particular, and about the processes of policy and legislation in the so-called political heart of the nation.

Today, in fact, marks the end of the first week of my internship. And I’ve done so much it seems already. But I can’t wait to do and experience more.

On my first day at work, for example, I did my first spreadsheet ever on Excel, which I have to admit was kinda cool in a “not so sexy way” experience to have working in a formal office-environment. Even more excitingly, I attended an ice-cream social on my first day, and after work, my boss took me out to meet up with some of his friends/colleagues  from the Queer Southeast Asian Network who happened to be in town for a conference. This event marked the first time in my life that I had ever come face-to-face with fellow Southeast Asians—who not only openly identified as Queer, but who were also involved in progressive and/or radical politics.

Back home in Atlanta, whenever I attend a local demonstration, protest, rally, or participate in radical/progressive spaces, I find that I am often the only Southeast Asian, and most times than not, the only API present in such contexts. So meeting these Queer Southeast Asian activists was exhilarating and honestly one of the best things that I have ever experienced. Most, if not all of the cool peeps that I met that night are now my friends on Facebook, which means of course, that our connections are now pretty legit lol.

Cheers! To networking, to building family aways-aways from home.

Until next time, yours truly,

The Rothster

 

IDAHOT Lifts Up International LGBT Issues- NQAPIA Statement

  May 17 is recognized around the world as International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Today, as advocates and our allies in countries across the globe continue their important work day-to-day addressing life-threatening issues of violence and discrimination against LGBT people, NQAPIA takes this opportunity to join the global chorus of voices calling for […]

NQAPIA at Creating Change

It’s that Creating Change time of year again!  For those of you who don’t know, Creating Change: The National Conference on LGBT Equality might be the largest conference of its kind, bringing thousands of LGBTQ advocates, leaders, policymakers, and allies together annually.  This year, the conference will be held at the Hilton of the Americas in Houston, TX January 29-February 2.

NQAPIA has historically played a leading role in convening programming for AAPIs at the conference.  This year will be no different, and we are involved with a number of sessions relevant to AAPIs and communities of color.

For those in our communities who celebrate, Lunar New Year this year happens during the conference, as we welcome the Year of the Horse.  We are planning a special recognition of this holiday to share with the entire conference.

A list of events we are involved in that are relevant for AAPI communities appears below.  Many of them are open to all and we encourage active participation.  Allies’ respect for the safe spaces designated specifically for AAPIs is appreciated:

Thursday, January 29

9:00 AM – 6:30 PM (Day-Long Institutes)

AAPI FocusBuilding a Queer AAPI Movement

Day-Long Institute safe space for AAPIs

 

Friday, January 25

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM (Workshop Session 2)

Building a South Asian Queer Movement

Session on queer South Asian movement building- open to all

 

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (Caucus Session 1)

South Asian Caucus

Safe space for self-identified South Asian participants*

 

Saturday, February 1

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM (Workshop Session 5)

Build Community Through Arts, Storytelling and Media

Session presented by the Visibility Project*

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Because You’re Brown, Honey Gurl!: A Workshop on Race, Capitalism, and Desire

Session presented by Janani Balasubramaniam and Alok Vaid-Menon. Three hour workshop for people of color.*

 

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM (Workshop Session 6)

Mapping Power: LGBTQ AAPI Organizing for Social Change

NQAPIA AAPI Organizing Workshop open to all

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM 

Special Lunch Discussion on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth: ROOM 333

Discussion for people of color on the implications of California bill AB1266 (School Success and Opportunity Act). Lunch will be provided.

 

4:45 PM – 6:15 PM (Workshop Session 8)

From Sugarland to the Beltway: Local and Federal Responses in the Fight for Immigrant Justice

NQAPIA Immigration Workshop open to all

 

6:30PM – 7:30 PM: (Caucus Session 2)

Building Our QAPI Movement: A Caucus for Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders

Safe space for self-identified AAPI participants

 

8:00 PM (Time and Venue TBD)

QPOC Meet-Up and Reception

 

Sunday, February 2

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM (Workshop Session 9)

Two Spirits, One Heart: A Mother’s Love, a Transgender Son’s Courage: ROOM 335B

A panel by Marsha Aizumi, API PFLAG- SGV, and Aiden Aizumi*

 

[*Not officially affiliated with NQAPIA]

 

A highlight of our programming at Creating Change will be the fourth annual AAPI Institute.

This Institute seeks to further the presence, visibility, and engagement of AAPIs in LGBT social justice movements as well as at Creating Change. The Institute is open only to AAPIs. The theme of this year’s Institute is “Healing, Resilience, and Wellbeing in Queer AAPI Communities.” Sessions will focus on community building, skills development, and education on issues of common concern, including mental health and wellness/ self-care.

Expected outcomes for the Institute include:

  • A robust network of LGBT AAPI activists around the country
  • Concrete strategies to overcome barriers that frustrate LGBT AAPI organizing
  • Deeper understanding of AAPI LGBT communities and histories, and common issues of concern
  • Increased leadership and organizing skills
  • A sharper analysis of intersecting oppressions at work in our communities, including (but not limited to): homophobia, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, heteronormativity, religious bigotry, colonialism/imperialism, ableism, ageism and their impact on building a queer AAPI movement.

 

For more information, contact Ben de Guzman: ben_deguzman@nqapia.org (e-mail); 202-422-4909 (cell)

 

Love Through Adversity

Caption:  Proud to stand by fellow solidarity fasters Mara Keisling (National Center for Transgender Equality), Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), and Sharita Gruberg (Center for American Progress), along with our friends at NCTE and CAP.

LOVE THROUGH ADVERSITY

 

Today, I am not eating.

Not because of the latest diet fad, or because I can’t find organic vegetables.  I’m fasting for a cause I believe in- common sense immigration reform.

I’m joining the #Fast4Families for a one day solidarity fast, along with activists from LGBT AAPI communities around the country.  NQAPIA board members, staff, and partners are joining over 500 solidarity fasters from AAPI communities to push Congressional action on common sense immigration reform.

Tell Congress to act on common sense immigration reform, and raise your voice for the families that want to stay together.

Congress remains stuck in partisan bickering, but we need them to act now.  Our families across the country are waiting for a decision and can’t afford to wait any longer.  So we’re following the footsteps of human rights leaders like Mahatma Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, and now, sadly enough, Nelson Mandela who are no longer with us, but who energized their communities by fasting as protest to push for justice.

The note I left with the fasters says it all:  “LGBT people know how to love in the face of adversity.”  That’s why we #Fast4Families and bring our bodies and whole selves to the struggle.

Next week is your last chance to contact Congress before the end of this year’s session.  Add your voice to the chorus calling for immigration reform.

Fasting will not be easy, but I need to do this for our community.  And I know I’ll find strength when you join me in demanding justice for LGBT AAPI immigrants and all our families.

In hope,

Ben de Guzman

 

P.S.   Looking for another way to support our fast?  Please donate $10 today by clicking here.

NQAPIA Recognizes Transgender Day of Remembrance

Since 1998, the Transgender Day of Remembrance has stood as a reminder of the toll transphobia has taken on our communities and to memorialize the lives of those we have lost through senseless violence.

The Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is no stranger to transphobia, as well as a host of other forms of violence (racism, xenophobia, anti-religious extremism, and more).  Today, NQAPIA recognizes the members of our communities we have lost, celebrates the resilience that those of us who are transgender build together, and stands in solidarity with them and with all people of good conscience to work for a better future for us all.

 

Resources:

Injustice at Every Turn:  Special report on AAPI respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, published in collaboration with the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

transAPIvoices:  Youtube channel dedicated to sharing the stories of AAPI trans and gender nonconforming people

White House:  Statement on the White House meeting with transgender advocates and leaders

Webinar for Trans AAPI College Students: Wednesday, October 24

NQAPIA is working with the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Trans On-Campus Non-Discrimination Information Program to sponsor a Webinar for Trans AAPI college students.  The Webinar will be held on Wednesday, October 24 at 3pm Eastern.

Sign up to find out more about how to protect and ensure your safety on your college campus by logging on here: https://secure.commonground.convio.com/ncte/nqapiawebinar/

Kay Ulanday Barrett at the 2012 NQAPIA Conference