Queer Asian Women & Transgender Support
Anti-immigrant sentiment and homophobia are rearing up in the
forms of frightening policies and national attitudes every day.
Conditions that contribute to intimate partner violence (IPV) are
deepening and spreading. Asian & Pacific Islander (API) LGBQT
people, particularly those who are immigrants or refugees, already
tend to be among the most invisible and underserved in our society.
When experiencing violence, they have few, if any, places to turn.
Their marginalization is compounded-not only as an immigrant or
refugee but also from the existence of their LBQT relationship
Since its creation in 1991, Asian Women's Shelter's Queer Asian
Women and Transgender Support (QAWTS) Program, one of the first and
only programs of its kind in the nation, has been at the forefront
in addressing intimate partner violence in the LBTQ community. In
addition to providing comprehensive services for queer survivors of
violence, QAWTS works on innovative programs and prevention
QAWTS utilizes a two-part prevention model. The overall goal is
to shift socio-cultural norms from those that justify or allow
violent behavior between intimate partners to new norms that
promote non-violent, healthy relationships. API queer immigrant and
refugee leadership are integrated throughout the program so that
the program is by and for the community. The two program components
Chai Chats, which supports API LBQT community
members to practice and promote healthy relationships through a
10-session cycle of community-centered training, dialogue, and
skills-building. Each session focuses on concrete skills for
modeling, nurturing, and promoting practices of healthy
relationships. Chai Chats offers a safe space to explore the
complex issues surrounding queer relationships. This year, due to
popular demand, we expanded Chai Chats to the East Bay.
Homophobia Busters - Homophobia and transphobia
are major barriers to seeking help and resources for queer
relationship violence. Homophobia Busters trains and activates
cohorts of anti-homophobia allies within API immigrant and refugee
communities. These allies, many of whom are heterosexual, directly
address homophobia and heterosexism in their social networks,
reducing isolation of API LGBTQ individuals and relationships,
creating increased social support for the API LGBQT community and
reducing the incidence of IPV.
QAWTS is currently undergoing an extensive and exciting
evaluation supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's
Strengthening What Works initiative.