API Equality – Los Angeles

API Equality – LA
533 Glendale Blvc, Suite 101
Los Angeles, CA 90026


API Equality-LA’s mission is to build power in the Asian and Pacific Islander community to achieve LGBTQ equality and racial and social justice.


API Equality-LA (Asians and Pacific Islanders for LGBTQ Equality – Los Angeles) began to build a base of API LGBTQ people in Southern California in 2005 in response to anti-gay rallies organized by ultraconservative Chinese churches in California. API Equality-LA successfully organized the local community around marriage equality and built coalitions and relationships with other queer, trans, and API organizations throughout the campaign. After this win, API Equality-LA created a long-term vision for our continued work to address the root causes of homophobia and transphobia in API communities. As one of only queer and trans API-led groups working on LGBTQ justice in API communities, we also developed a pipeline for API LGBTQ youth and adults to develop their political analyses, taking action for change, and be part of decision-making and action-planning for our organizations.

The Issues:

Living at the intersection of multiple identities, the API LGBTQ community continues to experience discrimination, hatred, and feelings of alienation in their everyday lives. Xenophobic and racist policies that affect the API community are further compounded for trans and queer API migrants, who also face a lack of acceptance and social support from within the API community. The lack of API and LGBTQ voices in immigration justice, invisibility of API folks in LGBTQ movements, and rejection and isolation in and from their families and communities all are barriers to organizing and are barriers to community members’ developing their political analyses in other API or LGBTQ spaces.

Constituency and Leadership:

Our base is composed of queer and trans Asians and Pacific Islanders in Southern California. Our community is ethnically diverse, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, South Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and many others. We are primarily low income and working-class and are mixed in age. We represent the full spectrum of sexual and gender identities, including culturally-specific third gender and sexual identity communities. We focus on centering the experiences of those further marginalized within the queer and trans API community, especially youth, trans and gender non-conforming people, immigrants, and low-income people.

Tackling Oppressive Structures:

API Equality-LA’s work is rooted in addressing intersectional experiences of oppression facing API LGBTQ communities. We host trainings and workshops for our members and the community at large on a variety of topics including API LGBTQ history and community organizing; LGBTQ 101 and Trans 101 for API communities; family acceptance in API communities; intersectionality; and many other topics. These trainings are designed to recognize the varied histories of migration and resettlement within API communities, highlight culturally specific gender or sexuality constructs, acknowledge inter-ethnic and interracial conflicts that impact experiences of privilege and oppression, and emphasize racial solidarity in our organizing approach.

Movement Building:

API Equality-LA participates in strategic coalitions based on advancing issue-specific agendas and strengthening local partnerships. We co-led the May Day Trans Queer Intersex Contingent in Los Angeles since 2013, coordinating with other queer and trans immigrant and workers rights leaders and organizations to mobilize mainstream LGBTQ, immigrants’ rights, and workers’ rights groups to support ending trans detention. Our participation was driven by our active focus on immigration and trans justice, as well as a desire to strengthen the capacity of queer and trans people of color organizing and movement-building in Los Angeles. As the only QTAPI group and often the only LGBTQ group in many advocacy spaces, we work to ensure that advocacy agendas include an intersectional lens that addresses the needs of queer and trans APIs and people of color. Finally, we invest in deeper 1-on-1 relationships with specific groups and organizations based on mutual support and solidarity.

Long-term Vision for Change:

Empowering Asian & Pacific Islander communities to achieve LGBTQ, racial, and social justice. Together we can create an inclusive, equitable, and just society where all API LGBTQ people will thrive.

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Organization Budget:  $264,000
Request: $10,000

raised to date this week:

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