Image description: Dorothy is outdoors slightly smiling at the camera. There is a tree behind them.
Image description: Dorothy is outdoors slightly smiling at the camera. There is a tree behind them.

Dorothy Tang (they/them) joined APIENC last year and is on the Dragon Fruit Podcast production and dissemination teams and is a member of the Trans Justice Committee.

Dorothy, who identifies as 2nd generation Teochew/Chinese-Vietnamese and non-binary, first found APIENC last summer when they were seeking out a community of other TGNC folks. They were able to get involved since much of APIENC’s work went virtual due to the pandemic.

A couple of years ago when they were going to the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), Dorothy volunteered for a year at RCSGD, their school’s resource center for trans and queer students. They thought the work was important, but they didn’t feel super connected with the group. They also started volunteering at KCSB, their school’s community radio station, and were able to make connections with other QTPOC people. As the news director, Dorothy was able to organize an environmental justice panel and provide live coverage of labor strikes.

After graduating from UCSB, working at a food co-op and doing freelance graphic design work, they had to move back home due to COVID. Wanting to be in community with trans and queer people, they discovered APIENC and shortly after, started getting involved in the production of the Dragon Fruit Podcast.

Dorothy also became a member of APIENC’s Trans Justice (TJ) Committee. They came into their non-binary identity somewhat recently and are still on their gender journey, but there is something special about being part of a TGNC space that is specifically for API people.

When asked why they volunteer with APIENC, Dorothy says:

“I feel a sense of community at APIENC. ‘Community’ is a very vague and esoteric word. It’s hard to actually feel in-community with people, but I align with APIENC’s politics, especially being rooted in radical history.”

Dorothy has met a lot of great people through APIENC, people who challenge them to be more sincere, open and communicative. It isn’t just about doing the work, but about making authentic connections and a willingness to invest the time and energy into something they care about.

One of Dorothy’s most memorable moments at APIENC was during a Dragon Fruit Podcast meeting that was dedicated to “hopes and dreams.” They met to talk about goals and visions for the future, which was a nice break from working on the podcast.

When asked what their hopes for the TQAPI community are, Dorothy says:

“I’ve been thinking a lot about safety, especially because of the needs assessment and the sunsetting of the Trans Justice Committee. I mostly want for people who are not TGNC to actually care about us, to care about legislation that affects us, housing and employment inequality, and for TGNC folks to reach a point where we can access the things we need.”

A fun fact about Dorothy: they paint and customize dolls! They are also working on building a house out of popsicle sticks for an (unknown) future animation project.