APIENC’s healing and care work prepares transgender and queer Asians and Pacific Islanders (TQAPIs) to practice interdependence, build mental health skills, and advance healing justice. Through this, we seek to heal from the traumas of oppression and lead within APIENC and our broader movements in a sustainable way.


Trans and queer API communities face many barriers to accessing competent mental health care, and often suffer trauma from the care offered. In Up to Us, APIENC’s community-led research of the needs of trans APIs in the Bay Area, we confirmed the ways that the Medical Industrial Complex (MIC) continues to exploit and traumatize our people. We found over half of survey respondents feel uncomfortable and unsafe going to the doctor, while a third need to but cannot afford to. In addition, more than 70% have seriously considered ending their own lives, and many have attempted to. Clearly, our needs for support and care are dire, but the care available to us is unaffordable or inaccessible. The healthcare we can afford often leaves us alienated, hurt by the people meant to care for us, and too frightened to go back.

Image description: A small table with various items on top: bags of herbs, papers, teas, boxes of N95 masks, jars, and markers.

Despite these conditions, our communities have generations of first-hand knowledge and ancestral wisdom on how to survive oppression and support each other to heal. At APIENC, we build on these practices to create our own systems of care. By starting a peer counseling program by-and-for TGNC APIs, leading workshops to learn how to ask for help and practice interdependence, and experimenting with phone trees and mutual aid projects to meet each others’ needs, we challenge the MIC’s monopoly and shift the power to care for ourselves and each other back to our communities.


I used to think that I’m fully capable of handling challenges on my own because I never wanted to burden anyone, especially my family. But, really, I am not always okay. I realize now that opening myself up to share my mental health with my family, who I love dearly, has brought us so much closer.

A big impetus for why I can share this reflection is due in part to my participation in the Dragonfruit Network’s Asking for Help workshops last year. I learned that I am not alone in my experiences and that being vulnerable is an act of courage. There is so much healing and care that we as a queer TGNC community can cultivate together, and this is why I choose to be a part of the Healing and Care committee with APIENC.
-Vince Z., Committee Member

Trans API Peer Counseling

Launching in 2021, APIENC’s peer counseling pilot program offers free, culturally competent healing care, led by and for trans and non-binary APIs. This is an opportunity to meet a critical need for culturally-competent, affordable mental health care, while developing our community members’ skills to care for each other.

Image description: 4 people are sitting indoors on a tan sofa and in conversation with one another.

Dragon Fruit Network

Stemming from the Dragon Fruit Project, APIENC’s Dragon Fruit Network was developed in 2017 to continue the work of building intergenerational networks of care for QTAPI people. Emphasizing relationship building and learning across generations, the Dragon Fruit Network has hosted gatherings and workshops for elders and youth to develop our skills in asking for help and offering help. Together, we learn and practice mutual care and share our learnings and tools with the broader APIENC community and beyond so that everyone may grow their own networks of care.

Image description: Vince C. and other APIENC members are indoors doing an activity.

Healing Plan Workshops


As trans and queer APIs, we are rarely given the opportunity to consider what healing means to us. APIENC’s Healing Plan Workshops offer concrete practices for TQAPIs to take ownership of our own healing processes by creating space to identify healing goals, support systems, resources in our community, and more.

Image description: Two APIENC members are indoors looking at flipchart papers attached to the wall. They are about healing and healing resources.

Learn More


Reflecting on the history of trans and queer Asian and Pacific Islander organizing, getting into juicy conversations about love and relationships, and reclaiming space for our own healing.

Dragon Fruit Podcast



(8/26/2020) Reflections and learnings from organizing a phone tree for community members to connect and support each other as the COVID-19 crisis was escalating in the spring of 2020.

Organizing a COVID-19 Phone Tree



Findings of community-based research on the safety, healing, and housing needs of trans and non-binary APIs in the Bay Area.

Up to Us

Have more questions or comments?

Image description: A small table with various items on top: bags of herbs, papers, teas, boxes of N95 masks, jars, and markers.
Image description: 4 people are sitting indoors on a tan sofa and in conversation with one another.
Image description: Vince C. and other APIENC members are indoors doing an activity.
Image description: Two APIENC members are indoors looking at flipchart papers attached to the wall. They are about healing and healing resources.