Photo of Danny Waxwing

Danny Waxwing

  • Hosted by Disability Rights Washington
  • Sponsored by Fenwick & West LLP
  • Service location Seattle, Washington
  • Law school University of Washington School of Law
  • Issue area LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Danny will launch the Trans in Prison (TIP) Justice Project, mobilizing community and legal resources to address the acute needs of transgender and gender non-conforming (“GNC”) people incarcerated in Washington State prisons. Through direction representation, policy change, coalition-building, and community organizing, TIP will center advocacy at the intersections of disability, gender, and racial justice.

Transgender and GNC people who are incarcerated in Washington State face devastating conditions: appalling rates of sexual and physical violence, disproportionate punishment in solitary confinement, denial of medically necessary care, incessant harassment and dehumanization, and denial of basic self-expression. These harsh conditions are further compounded for trans prisoners with disabilities, particularly those with mental health concerns. Yet systemic barriers to accessing relief through the courts, institutional grievance processes, and administrative agencies limit many incarcerated transgender and GNC people from accessing remedies. And currently there are no legal aid organizations in Washington with capacity to spearhead impact litigation or engage in limited representation to address the conditions facing incarcerated trans and GNC people.

Danny is the right person for the project because:

  • He has been immersed in prison-based advocacy and organizing for the past ten years.
  • He is experienced in balancing immediate direct service needs with work for systems-level change
  • He has already engaged in extensive outreach and organizing with transgender people who are imprisoned, community organizations, and legal aid organizations around these issues.

Fellowship Plans

In the first six months, Danny will:

  • Interview and collaborate with incarcerated trans and GNC people throughout the state to document rights violations, survival strategies, and advocacy priorities and identify possible plaintiffs
  • Develop and publish self-help materials and resource guides for grievance and appeals process
  • Support the work and growth of the Coalition for Trans Prisoners
  • Provide legal rights information to support self-advocacy by mail, phone, and through community education workshops.

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Lisa Mottet

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Sponsor: Equal Justice Works