The Gender Justice League, a nonprofit with an important presence on Capitol Hill providing support and advocacy for transgender and gender diverse people, has announced executive director Danni Askini has stepped down from the organization she helped found:
Gender Justice League has been rapidly growing in size, budget, and influence. However, under our current model, we will not be able to sustain this rate of growth indefinitely. We are taking this opportunity to undergo a strategic restructuring of our organization.
Askini’s legal situation, meanwhile, is fraught.
The activist traveled to Sweden earlier this year facing growing threats, the nonprofit said, as a target for “Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups in the United States, due to her work at Gender Justice League, and being a highly visible trans woman activist.”
Askini says the State Department is deliberately hindering trans travelers over gender. Now she is worried about what will happen to her if she tries to return to the United States facing passport issues over the State Department’s concerns over her citizenship paperwork, she told Swedish news outlet, The Local.
“In US immigration detention facilities, transgender women are often detained with men, and they run a huge risk of getting raped or sexually assaulted there,” Askini told The Local. “So I am trying to explore what my legal options are to remain in Sweden. It is rare, coming from the US, to apply for asylum in Sweden.”
Askini said her 90-day tourist visa would end October 9th.
The Seattle LGBTQ Commission has called on officials to ensure Askini’s wellbeing.
The Seattle LGBTQ Commission is highly concerned about the wellbeing of Seattle resident and prominent trans activist and human rights defender, Danni Askini, who had to flee the U.S. due to threats against her safety.
— Seattle LGBTQ Commission (@SeattleLGBTQ) October 13, 2018
A legal fund for the activist has raised more than $17,000. Originally aimed at helping Askini settle the citizenship issues with the State Department, an update from Askini last month said the goal had changed. “it has been made clear to us that I cannot reobtain a U.S. passport,” she wrote. Askini’s new goal? Securing permanent status in Sweden.
The Gender Justice League, meanwhile, said that deputy director Elayne Wylie will lead the organization while the search for a new executive is underway.
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