UAW 4121 Statement on Trump’s Anti-Trans Memo

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Trump Administration is considering making changes to legally define gender as the the sex a person was assigned at birth, which would effectively eradicate federal recognition of trans people. This is the latest of the Trump Administration’s targeting of vulnerable communities, and is the most stridently targeted at the trans community yet. UAW 4121 is strongly committed to protecting and improving the lives of our trans members and the trans community more broadly, and we are ready to continue working with local trans organizations and our elected representatives to vehemently oppose this and any other attack on our trans family.

As we’ve shown in the past, our best protections against these kinds of attacks come from the collective action and support we have as a union — action we’ve focused in the past to fight for improved bathroom access, fully trans-inclusive health coverage, and more. While it’s unclear exactly how this week’s news will develop, it is clear that we will always be ready to fight for our members and our communities, and take seriously that an injury to one of us is an injury to all of us.

We will keep you updated in the coming weeks as this develops, and we remain committed to ensuring the rights of our trans community are strongly upheld. For now, here are five things you can do to help this week:

1.  Know Your Rights – Thanks to years of massive member action, our contract has very strong protections against discrimination based on gender identity, and last Spring we fought for our trans health coverage under GAIP to be improved to be fully inclusive. Please take a minute now to review those protections. If you have any questions, or if you or someone you know is facing problems, contact the Contract Enforcement Work Group right away at

2.  Get Involved with our Trans Equity Working Group – Our Trans Equity Working Group has led our union’s efforts over the past several years to fight for improvements and protections for trans members and the broader UW trans community. We will be holding our first meeting of the 2018-2019 academic year soon — if you’d like to get involved or join the listserv, please email to participate in an availability poll and get more information.

3.  Work with Local Trans-Led Organizations – Donate your time or money to local trans-led organizations like Ingersoll Gender Center and Gender Justice League. You can also access a number of great support and advocacy resources from these organizations: Ingersoll provides a free weekly peer support group, direct individual support, and a healthcare database, and mark your calendars for Trans Awareness Week coming up November 12-17. Gender Justice League engages in 1-on-1 and community-based advocacy to “build, grow, train, and mobilize the Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming communities to address the systemic oppression we face.”

4.  Hit the Streets – There will be a rally this Saturday, 10/27 at 12:30pm, gathering at Seattle Central College. More information here.

5.  Support a Local Trans Activist’s Fight for Asylum – Earlier this year, Danni Askini, a local trans activist and the former Executive Director of Gender Justice League, fled the United States to Sweden after facing credible death threats and violence because of her visibility in trans activism and the Me Too movement. As she was leaving the US, her passport renewal was rejected because, according to the State Department, she has not “demonstrated a legitimate claim” to US citizenship. Danni managed to receive a temporary passport and make it to Sweden, but if she does not receive asylum from Sweden, there is a real possibility that upon returning to the US she would be detained at the border and held in a men’s detention facility.

Danni has been a strong supporter of our Union, and a hugely important figure in the Seattle trans community for years. Please take a moment to help her by donating to her legal fund, calling the Swedish Embassy at 1-202-476-2600, or emailing the Swedish Migrations Authority at to demand that Sweden grant her asylum application. You can use/edit the letter below if you’d like.

Danielle Askini is a transgender human rights defender who needs to be granted asylum in Sweden. She has been targeted by violence and credible death threats because of her activism for trans people and survivors of sexual abuse, and now that the Trump Administration has proposed rollback of current policies protecting trans people and the implementation of those policies in the near future, she faces even further persecution.

She has applied for asylum in Sundbyberg, Sweden. Her case number is 11669134.

I am calling on Sweden to honor the UN Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders and the Geneva Convention and grant her asylum immediately. Please help to ensure her safety and well being.

Thank you in advance for your serious consideration,  

Your name