TGI Justice Project (TGIJP)



Oakland, California




Left-of-Center Activist Group

Executive Director:

Janetta Johnson

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TGI Justice Project (The Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project), a project of the de-incarceration advocacy group Justice Now, is a left-of-center transgender activism and legal services organization. The group has taken radical stances on criminal justice issues, including the total abolition of the San Francisco police and all prisons.    

Founding and History

The TGI Justice Project was founded in 2004 to provide legal aid to transgender people in the California prison system. In 2005 the project merged with the Transgender in Prison Committee, which was itself previously a project of the HIV-in-Prison Committee. In 2010 the group began to shift its focus from legal services to peer legal advocacy programs that also included promoting legislative change and policy work. 1


At the end of fiscal year 2017, the TGI Justice project had $1,707,636 in revenue, of which $1,698,554 was derived from contributions and grants. The project had $1,134,003 in expenses, of which $847,606 was allocated towards salaries and benefits, and $53,045 was allocated towards fundraising expenses. The group ended the year with $1,639,739 in net assets. 2

TGI Justice Project was founded in 2004 through a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Institute. It has received grants from the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and a grant over “six figures” from Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. 3 4 5

Priority Issues

The TGI Justice Project provides a variety of legal services to transgender persons in California. These include the operation of a legal mail assistance service, and an emergency legal hotline, assistance obtaining parole, legal representations when seeking clemency, filing legal complaints regarding prison conditions and assault, and legal defense in criminal trials related to self-defense. 6 The project also publishes a variety of resources related to legal aid, including guides to preparing for parole, legal name changes while incarcerated, court support, and a guide on surviving California prisons. 7

Policy Advocacy and Aid Services

The TGI Justice Project has promoted a variety of legislation to advance transgender issues in San Francisco and California. This includes the successful passage of AB 2218, the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund Act, which created a California state fund for aid to transgender persons, and the successful passage of SB 132, the Transgender Respect Agency and Dignity Act, which deals with transgender inmates in the California criminal justice system. 8

The TGI Justice project also runs a leadership academy to train formerly incarcerated transgender people in activism. The project also works to organize transgender persons within women’s prisons and provide a source of information for cis-gendered women in the prison who have questions and concerns. 9

Covid-19 Response Demands

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the TGI Justice Project issued a series of demands to the San Francisco government. These included the total defunding of the San Francisco police department, the prohibition of private policing, the total disarmament of every aspect of the city government, and the disbanding of the city’s gang task force. 10

Related to the total abolition of the police, the TGI Justice Project has called for the abolition of the city’s jails and the release of all inmates from city and county jails. The group also called for a ban on sheriffs being able to hold people convicted of state and federal charges. 11

As part of its demands, the TGI Justice Project also called for the city government to force all police officers who would be unemployed to go through training on the alleged harm of the “prison industrial complex” as a condition for reassignment.


Janetta Johnson is the current executive director of the TGI Justice Project, a position she has held since 2014. Johnson has been involved in transgender activism since she was sentenced to federal prison for three years in 1997. Johnson was named the organization’s interim director in 2006. 12


  1. TGI Justice. “About Us.” Accessed July 12, 2021.
  2. Justice Now, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part I
  3. TGI Justice. “About Us.” Accessed July 12, 2021.
  4. Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice. “Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project.” Accessed July 12, 2021.
  5. “Black Lives Matter 2020 Impact Report.” Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, 2021.
  6. “Legal & Policy.” TGI Justice. Accessed July 12, 2021.–policy.html.
  7. “TGI Resources & Guides.” TGI Justice. Accessed July 12, 2021.–guides.html.
  8. “Legal & Policy.” TGI Justice. Accessed July 12, 2021.–policy.html.
  9. “Legal & Policy.” TGI Justice. Accessed July 12, 2021.–policy.html.
  10. “TGIJP Covid-19 Response.” TGI Justice. Accessed July 12, 2021.
  11. “TGIJP Covid-19 Response.” TGI Justice. Accessed July 12, 2021.
  12. “Janetta Johnson Press.” TGI Justice. Accessed July 12, 2021.
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