APIENC’s Trans Justice Initiative uplifts the leadership of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary (TGNC) Asians and Pacific Islanders. By training TGNC API leaders, organizing spaces for us to heal and connect, and educating and mobilizing our allies, we combat transphobia and build safer communities for all trans people.

While transgender people have entered a new age of visibility, violence against TGNC people is on the rise. Faced with high rates of police violence, health discrimination, housing insecurity, widespread isolation, and interpersonal violence, TGNC people are especially vulnerable to harm. Moreover, faced with a lack of resources to meet our cultural needs, TGNC API people are often isolated within our own API communities and from institutions meant to support us.

Image description: A person whose back is turned to the camera is indoors at a table, looking at a zine featuring another TGNC API person.

Our Trans Justice Initiative builds a community of TGNC API people and allies to respond to these needs and to bring full recognition and safety to all TGNC people. Together, we train members on community safety skills, conduct research to uplift our needs, and design curriculum on our histories to educate our allies. We mobilize hundreds in our SF Trans March API Contingent each year, train spokespeople to shift narratives about trans people in Asian media, work with other TGNC communities to improve housing access, healthcare, and safety, and more.

I came out as trans when I only knew a handful of queer and trans API folks. I felt isolated, and I thought I had to navigate my transition alone. I joined APIENC’s Trans Justice committee with the hope of seeing the intersection of my identity reflected in others. To exist in a room full of other TGNC API folks, who are aligned in their values of justice and equity, is a unique opportunity: there is energy in the space that gives me hope. It is a reminder that our community is strong and that things can change for the better. – Leo Hegde

Trans Justice Committee

In 2016, in response to conversations about how to address issues affecting our TGNC community members, APIENC volunteers organized the member-led Trans Justice Committee. The committee meets every month to provide TGNC API folks with a space to organize strategic projects which respond to our needs, build deep relationships to combat isolation, and grow a skilled, lasting community of TGNC API leaders.

Image description: A group of TGNC API people and allies sit on the floor in a circle.

Trans March API Contingent

Since 2013, we’ve made an annual commitment to mobilize Asian and Pacific Islander people at Trans March and amplify the voices of TGNC API community members. In 2019, over 400 people joined us to march in the streets, create powerful art, learn community safety skills, and deepen our historical understanding of trans justice.

Image description: a large group of TGNC API people stand in the middle of the street with fists raised, holding banner that says "We have always existed; we have always belonged".

TGNC Movement-Building

We partner with other TGNC organizations locally, statewide, and nationally in order to grow intersectional, multiracial TGNC power. In 2019, along with Gender Justice LA, APIENC began to co-coordinate the Transform California coalition, a state-wide coalition of TGNC organizations seeking deeper alignment in our work and a greater trust in our relationships. APIENC also participates in the SF Our Trans Home coalition to fight for trans housing, and was a founder of the Ricebreakers TGNC API collective in the Bay Area.

Image description: a large group of TGNC people are smiling indoors. Some are making peace signs.

Community-Based Research

The severity of violence, discrimination, and institutional transphobia TGNC APIs face is not well-documented or understood. In 2019, APIENC began a community-based participatory action project focused on the experiences of TGNC APIs. In 2020, our team will transform our research into strategy and action through analysis led by our members, community roundtables, and the release of a report and toolkits for partner organizations.

Image description: Bold white text against colorful paint stroke background that reads: "For Us, By Us, In Order To Serve Us!"

Learn More


(6/27/19): APIENC staff and Core members discuss the upcoming 2019 SF Trans March and the TGNC API Bay Area Needs Assessment.

APEX Express Radio Show


(6/25/18): Brief profiles and reflections on the importance of 2018 SF Trans March from APIENC staff and members.

Balitang America

Have more questions or comments?

Image description: A person whose back is turned to the camera is indoors at a table, looking at a zine featuring another TGNC API person.
Image description: A group of TGNC API people and allies sit on the floor in a circle.
Image description: a large group of TGNC API people stand in the middle of the street with fists raised, holding banner that says “We have always existed; we have always belonged”.
Image description: a large group of TGNC people are smiling indoors. Some are making peace signs.
Image description: Bold white text against colorful paint stroke background that reads: “For Us, By Us, In Order To Serve Us!”