Lavender Phoenix’s Community Safety work confronts the people, institutions, and systems that isolate and harm transgender and queer Asians and Pacific Islanders (TQAPIs). By creating networks of relationships to respond to harm, training TQAPI security teams to defend each other, and campaigning for the abolition of police and prisons alongside our movement allies, we build safer communities for all people.
While trans, queer, and API people have entered a new age of visibility, violence against us is on the rise. Faced with high rates of police abuse, health discrimination, housing insecurity, and interpersonal violence, trans APIs are especially vulnerable. At Lavender Phoenix, we know policing, prisons, and deportations target our communities, take resources from the solutions we truly need, and perpetuate white supremacy. We believe true safety means having our needs—for housing, food, healthcare, mental health support, community care, and more—fully met.
Lavender Phoenix’s Community Safety initiatives build full networks of trans and queer APIs committed to this vision of safety. Together, we practice the skills to de-escalate crisis and identify support; we advocate to abolish the Prison Industrial Complex; and we provide popular education so our own community can lead this work. We train security teams of TGNC API people and allies, hold townhalls for our community to discuss our needs, work with other TGNC and BIPOC communities to improve housing and healthcare access, and more.
I want trans and non-binary APIs to know we have deep knowledge about how to keep our folks safe. [We] come from lineages of people who have prioritized protecting and caring for one another since time immemorial. […] Organizing for safety alongside my TGNC API siblings means collective stewardship and responsibility.
– mika hernandez, Committee Member
Community Safety Committee
Lavender Phoenix’s work has always committed to keeping our people safe. In 2021, through renewed conversations about how to address violence, trans and non-binary Lavender Phoenix members organized a member-led Community Safety Committee to deepen our investment in this work. The committee meets every month to organize strategic projects that develop our skills and knowledge, challenge the systems that make our communities unsafe, and experiment towards solutions together.
To envision liberatory futures, we need to know the people and projects that have come before us. We offer workshops for our community members to explore those histories, to learn skills such as building our personal safety networks, and to identify the ways our safety is tied to the freedom of all oppressed people.
(3/19/21): Staff member Sammie Ablaza Wills discusses the importance of community-led responses to violence, after the shootings in Atlanta.
The Guardian: Police patrols have increased in Asian areas. Not everyone is feeling safer
(5/28/19): A letter from Lavender Phoenix’s Core Committee, explaining why we chose to march in protest of policing at SF Pride 2019.
Honoring Our Legacies
Findings of community-based research on the safety, healing, and housing needs of trans and non-binary APIs in the Bay Area.