When a queer Pakistani Muslim person tries to fly to India, she is deemed a security risk and subjected to an invasive pat-down. Her brown skin is considered a flight risk.
When a Samoan trans woman is targeted by the police for prostitution, her gender identity is disrespected and disregarded. She is seen as a threat, while those who attack and kill trans women are routinely allowed to walk free.
When a gender non-conforming East Asian person tries to fly, they are stopped by security time and time again. Their body is not legible, too confusing to be safe.
When a queer Southeast Asian person is stopped by the police, in a car full of young people, the police care more about impounding her car than the safety of brown youth. Her car is seen as an inconvenience; her safety is deemed unimportant.
These are stories I have heard from friends in just the past few weeks. In our communities, these stories are endless and often go untold. From police officers to TSA agents to FBI informants, people in our API communities are being targeted for state violence, and we need to fight back.
What are your experiences with police and law enforcement?
For many LGBTQ APIs, policing and profiling are regular occurrences, events that we have learned to fear. We tense up when we hear police sirens, arrive at airports at least an hour early to account for the invasive body checks, act as politely as we can knowing that won't protect us.
For others of us - especially those of us with lighter skin and who are more financially secure - we may not experience policing or profiling on a regular basis. We sometimes believe that the police are on our side; we often trust that the harassment of certain members of our communities is for safety.
That's why this week, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance is hosting a #RedefineSecurity Week of Action. We are lifting up the stories of queer and trans* Asian and Pacific Islander people, and shining a light on the policing and profiling of our communities. We are challenging all of our community to really examine what role police and law enforcement play in our lives.
Are you ready to join the conversation?
Come to a week of action event near you in LA, Boston, Chicago, the Bay Area, Seattle, New York, or DC (more info at www.nqapia.org). We'd love to see you there!
Can't make it in person, but want to show your support online?
Sign our petition demanding that the Department of Homeland Security #StopProfilingImmigrants.
Donate a tweet or a Facebook status to our Thunderclap, which says "Stop legalized profiling & policing of queer & trans* APIs. I support NQAPIA's #RedefineSecurity week of action."
We need to #RedefineSecurity and challenge our investment in policing in API communities. Let's re-envision a world where we keep ourselves safe, without the danger of police and law enforcement.
If you want to learn more about this campaign or get involved, email NQAPIA's Organizing Director: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sasha W. is the Organizing Director at the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, and a founding member of the Queer South Asian National Network. Sasha believes in lifting up stories at the margins of our queer and trans* API communities, and building our collective power. You can read more of Sasha's writing at www.nqapia.org and www.tospeakasong.com.