APIENC (API Equality – Northern California) builds transgender, non-binary, and queer Asian and Pacific Islander (TQAPI) power to amplify our voices and empower our communities. Through organizing, we inspire and train grassroots leaders, transform our values from scarcity to abundance, and partner with organizations to sustain a vibrant movement ecosystem. Since 2004, APIENC has trained hundreds of leaders to organize intersectional movements focused on racial justice, trans justice, community safety, and healing justice. Our work speaks to the unique experiences of those living at the intersection of transgender, queer and API identity, filling in a key gap across movements.
Here's the Issue:
Trans, non-binary, and queer APIs live at the intersection of racism, xenophobia, transphobia, and economic injustices. Trans and queer APIs are gaining more visibility, but many still struggle to access stable housing, affirming workplaces, competent mental health care, stable housing, and life-affirming community. In 2019-2020, APIENC led “Up to Us,” a groundbreaking, community-based research study on the experiences of trans and non-binary API people—the largest in the country to-date. In this research, we found that 22% of respondents experienced homelessness; 70% have seriously considered suicide while 29% have attempted it; and despite pervasive violence in public and in our homes, 79% feel uncomfortable and unsafe turning to the police for help. Clearly, our community’s needs are dire; yet due to the erasure of our histories, harmful model minority myths, language barriers, and widespread isolation, violence against TQAPIs is often overlooked and solutions are underfunded.
APIENC’s work is about healing across generations, developing movement leaders, and collaborating to create community safety. This includes:
- Healing justice & community care: we organize projects such as intergenerational phone trees and a free peer counseling program by-and-for trans APIs to give & receive support that meets our cultural & gender needs.
- Developing values-based leaders: through our 8-week Summer Organizer Program apprenticeship to our 6-week Leadership Exchange training series, we provide the skills, histories, and compassionate approaches needed to create visionary new worlds.
- Creating community safety: we grow our solutions to violence by developing trained community safety teams & growing our skills through workshops on healthy relationships, conflict-resolution, and de-escalation.
Ultimately, APIENC grows the number of skilled and compassionate people working towards justice. By ensuring that our people are seen, heard, empowered, and united, we are building movements that are sustainable and effective at creating solutions for generations to come.
We're the right people to do the work because:
As an organization centered on grassroots organizing and leadership development, we believe that the people experiencing oppression are the best equipped to create long-term solutions. That’s why APIENC is an organization for trans & queer API people, by trans & queer API people. We are staffed by 4 people, all of whom are queer API people, and three of whom are young, trans API people. Our membership is primarily TQAPI people under the age of 30. We’re driven by TQAPI volunteer members who understand how we have been denied humanity and resources due to gender presentation, ethnic background, religion, immigrant status, disability, and other identities.
APIENC’s 120 active members come from all across the Bay Area, and our leaders are young, working-class, transgender, immigrant, from refugee families, and more. Every year, we train our members to be skilled organizers and we partner with over 30 organizations to advance collaborative visions.