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

The Trans in Prison (TIP) Justice Project focuses advocacy at the intersections of disability, gender, and racial justice by using direct representation, policy advocacy, coalition-building, and community organizing to address the acute needs of transgender and gender diverse people imprisoned in Washington State.

Transgender prisoners 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. The TIP Justice Project balances immediate direct service needs with advocacy for systems-level changes in prisons across Washington State.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past year, Danny has:

  • Provided brief advice, resources, and referrals to 486 individuals, including 272 letters to prisoners containing legal rights information and resources, 174 phone appointments, and 70 in-person visits;
  • Provided successful representation for 3 legal name change cases, and developed resource guide for incarcerated pro se legal name change petitioners;
  • Successfully advocated for policy changes across the state prison system and at the level of local county jails, which includes participation in WA State DOC Transgender Policy Workgroup;
  • Successfully advocated for facility to change practice of segregating incarcerating transgender women;
  • Launched a statewide investigation, collaborating with trans and gender diverse prisoners to document rights violations, survival strategies, and identify advocacy priorities, with 21 interviews completed;
  • Engaged Fenwick & West attorneys in legal research.

Next Steps

In the next year, Danny plans to:

  • Publish and distribute a comprehensive resource guide for trans prisoners;
  • Develop materials for and offer know-your-rights workshops to trans prisoner support groups;
  • Expand access to fee waivers for indigent legal name change petitioners through pro se resources and potential litigation;
  • Increase access to transition-related health care for people in state prisons;
  • Conduct CLE for and engage Fenwick & West attorneys in pro bono name change representation.

Meet Other Fellows Like Danny

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Jalise Burt

Host: New York Civil Liberties Union

Sponsor: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

Corey Prachniak

Host: Whitman-Walker Health

Sponsor: Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Jason Ortega

Host: Los Angeles LGBT Center

Sponsor: Apple, Inc., O'Melveny & Myers LLP

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Rafael Varela

Host: Community & Economic Development Clinic at CUNY School of Law

Sponsor: The Paul Rapoport Foundation

Current Fellow