Page 16

16 • NOVEMBER 23, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

VOLUME 02 ISSUE 38

Trump’s first trans refugee seeking asylum in Sweden Danni Askini: ‘I can be myself without fear of violence’

Pauline Park is an LGBT and human rights activist who led the campaign for the transgender rights law enacted by the New York City Council in 2002.

The word ‘refugee’ conjures up images of people of color fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and other poor and war-torn regions of the world; someone like Danni Askini would be the last person whose image would come to mind, especially in Sweden. She’s an attractive young blonde and would blend right in on any street in Stockholm, which is where she is now. She’s also an American citizen, born and bred; but Danni may well be the first refugee to flee persecution from Donald Trump’s homophobic and transphobic administration to a country far wealthier per capita than the United States. Trump may be escalating his war on the LGBT community, as indicated by a memo circulating in the Department of Health & Human Services leaked to the New York Times last month that indicates an intention

to try to fix a definition of gender in Title IX on sex assigned at birth. I do not believe that that attempt will ultimately succeed, but it is a clear indication of the intense animus being directed by the Trump administration — no doubt at the instigation of Christian fundamentalists in the White House — above all, Vice President Mike Pence. “Filing for asylum in Sweden was absolutely the right thing to do… I can be myself in Sweden without fear of violence or discrimination. Migrationsverket [the Swedish Migration Agency] has reassured me that they have not found my application manifestly unfounded as a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling says that Sweden does not have a parliamentapproved a list of ‘safe third countries’ (i.e. the USA) and thus they will fully examine my application. I will be going through the normal asylum process. My hearing in November is a more detailed intake hearing — however, they still view the USA as a ‘functioning democracy’ and thus, I will have an uphill battle,” Danni posted on her Facebook page on Oct. 16, adding, “I have lost everything in the USA, the price of safety was immense, and I have spent 3 months homeless and in daily terror. This was not some extravagant holiday or vacation despite posting pretty pictures.” Lest you think Danni’s case is irrelevant to your life, consider Trump’s broadsides against the LGBT community here. Few of us are likely to have to flee for our lives as Danni has, but it is incumbent on the LGBT community and allies here in the U.S. to support Danni’s asylum case by demanding that U.S.-based and international LGBT advocacy and human rights organizations

— such as the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch — actively support her application for asylum in Sweden by demanding that Migrationsverket (the SWA) approve Danni’s application. Sweden has taken in more refugees and migrants per capita in the last decade than any other European country, which has provoked a right-wing backlash from white nationalists and has made the government ever more cautious about taking in more migrants. Danni Askini has fled to Sweden from a country that the SWA has not heretofore considered a source of refugees. Danni’s hearing with Migrationsverket is this month, so it is urgent and imperative that those who are in a position to contact LGBT advocacy organizations, human rights organizations, members of Congress, the media (here and in Sweden) and the SWA itself do so as soon as possible. Danni’s fate is important to me because she is a dear friend and an effective activist who has done incredibly important work on behalf of the transgender community in Washington State and nationally. But her case should be important to everyone in the U.S. LGBT community because a successful application for political asylum in Sweden would set an important legal precedent for those fleeing persecution in the U.S. for more progressive European and non-European countries, should the need ever arise for those of us now challenging the Trump administration’s attack on our community from the comfort of our homes in the United States.

ADDRESS 5455 Wilshire Blvd #1505, Los Angeles, CA 90036 PHONE 310-230-5266 E-MAIL tmasters@losangelesblade.com INTERNET losangelesblade.com PUBLISHED BY Los Angeles Blade, LLC PUBLISHER TROY MASTERS tmasters@losangelesblade.com 310-230-5266 x8080 (o), 917-406-1619 (c) SALES & MARKETING ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE VAN HONG VAN.HONG@losangelesblade.com 310-230-5266 x9459 PALM SPRINGS ACCOUNT EXEC BRAD FUHR, 760-813-2020. brad@gaydesertguide.com NATIONAL ADVERTISING RIVENDELL MEDIA sales@rivendellmedia.com, 212-242-6863 MARKETING DIRECTOR STEPHEN RUTGERS srutgers@washblade.com, 202-747-2077 x8077 EDITORIAL CALIFORNIA EDITOR KAREN OCAMB karenocamb@losangelesblade.com NATIONAL EDITOR KEVIN NAFF knaff@washblade.com, 202-747-2077 x8088 INTERNATIONAL EDITOR MICHAEL K. LAVERS mlavers@washblade.com EDITORIAL ASSITANT MARIAH COOPER mcooper@washblade.com CONTRIBUTORS

CHRISTOPHER KANE, AUSTIN MENDOZA, JOHN PAUL KING, JOEY DIGUGLIELMO, CHRIS JOHNSON, LOU CHIBBARO JR., MARIAH COOPER, REBEKAH SAGER, JON DAVIDSON, SUSAN HORNIK, CHANNING SARGENT

CREATIVE DESIGN/PRODUCTION AZERCREATIVE.COM DISTRIBUTION CHRISTOPHER JACKSON, 562-826-6602

All material in the Los Angeles Blade is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Los Angeles Blade. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. Although the Los Angeles Blade is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Los Angeles Blade, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Los Angeles Blade is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Los Angeles, CA. Multiple copies are available from the Los Angeles Blade office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Phil Rockstroh at prockstroh@washblade.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Los Angeles Blade, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Los Angeles Blade is published bi-weekly, on Friday, by Los Angeles Blade, LLC. Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Los Angeles, CA., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the Los Angeles Blade are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Los Angeles Blade or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Send submissions by e-mail to tmasters@losangelesblade.com.

©2018 LOS ANGELES BLADE, LLC.

Profile for Los Angeles Blade

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 38, November 23, 2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 38, November 23, 2018

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 38, November 23, 2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 38, November 23, 2018

Advertisement