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The Struggle for Trans Rights is Everyone’s Struggle

Transgender advocate with 'I voted' sticker, 'Trans rights are human rights' pin

In 2024, attention has been growing towards Project 2025’s “Mandate for Leadership.” This policy guide for conservative presidential candidates produced by the Heritage Foundation focuses on four key issue areas to “decide America’s future” — the first of which addresses “the breakdown of the family.”

It explains exactly how adamant the right is about erasing trans people, ending abortion and protecting white supremacy. It presents all of these things as part of one core issue; “the true priority of politics.”


Mixte spoke with Alex Petrovnia, founder and executive director of the Trans Formations Project, about how all of us can fight back, together.

Interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.


Have you seen a shift over time in how the right wing is attacking trans people? How is it different now from in the past?

When Trans Formations Project started in 2021, it was in response to anti-trans bills popping up at the time. They were mostly sports bans against trans femmes and their inclusion.

Since then, we’ve seen huge amounts of escalation.

[Anti-trans bills] have since grown into attacks on health care, the ability to exist in public spaces, and documentation. They are trying to make it impossible for trans people to have legal documents that reflect themselves as people, and we’re seeing a lot of schooling issues like forced outing or forced misgendering. Overall, a ton of censorship. Many bills, such as drag bans, are worded so broadly as to prevent trans people from even existing in public.

We’re seeing a lot of creative efforts to ostracize and isolate trans folks.

Also, this is part of a broader threat, and I really don’t want to lose that. I think there’s a lot of misconception that transgender issues are kind of a boutique issue, or that only LGBT people need to worry about it. And that’s just not true.

Trans issues are fundamentally about things like access to health care; bodily autonomy; and medical, personal and legal privacy. These things impact everyone.


You just predicted our next question: Is there anything that the broader progressive community overlooks or misunderstands about the latest right-wing threats?

We’re seeing an unevenness in focus on this issue. Conservatives are focusing very heavily on trans issues in terms of opposition, and progressives are not focusing as much on trans issues as a point of defense.

It’s a fundamental tactical error because, again, transgender issues are not limited to transgender people.

They’re ultimately asking questions about what kind of roles are we allowed to exist in? What kind of self-determination is really available in American society? Does the government have a right to access your medical information? Does it have a right to determine what medical care is best for you, rather than your doctor? Do institutions have the right to track your personal and legal information?

It’s concerning to me that a lot of people are thinking these are smaller questions than they actually are.


How do you see the Trans Formations Project’s role in combating the Project 2025 vision?

Our mission is to break down and analyze all of this anti-trans legislation for the general public. We believe really strongly that people deserve to know what they’re up against. 

People know what’s best for their own communities. So what we do is provide that information and analysis that allows them to make informed decisions and organize based on what they need.

We try to be a reliable hub of information that is accessible and free. The legislative process is intentionally inaccessible. That’s a way to conserve power, and we’re trying to break down this system as best as we can, because it keeps out people who are being impacted by this legislation.


How does that fit into the broader movement for trans safety and liberation? Is there any unification around what needs to be done?

To be honest, a lot of what scares me the most is not the determination of our opposition, but the lack of cohesion in our allies.

I see a lot of people in the progressive movement get extremely focused on their niche issue and specific scope of work. I get it; if you broaden yourself too much, you can’t meaningfully do the work.

However, at all times we need to keep in mind how our work is interdependent on the work of others. That means our best strategy is to coordinate.

The far right behind Project 2025 and all of these anti-trans bills and rhetoric has been organizing, consolidating power, fine-tuning their rhetoric and figuring out what makes their constituents tick for a long time.


If you were speaking directly to our readers, what would you call them to do?

This is going to sound weird at first, but I don’t need people to show up for trans rights.

I need people to understand, deeply and intimately, that the struggle for trans rights affects them as well, and is in their own best interest. And then I need them to show up for people like them, in collaboration with me.

Think about your advantages and talents, and how those can assist what other people are doing already. You can volunteer with the Trans Formations Project, for starters. Every bit of time is a gift — whatever skills you bring, whatever you are interested in doing, and however much time you have.

Also, this is a critical election year, and not just because the Presidency is on the line. At the state level, over 5,000 seats are up for election in 2024, and these seats matter. The Trans Formations Project proudly provides voting and sponsorship records on anti-trans bills for every state-level representative in the country.

This resource allows you to know where each elected representative stands on the anti-trans legislation sweeping our legislatures. Please use it to make informed and compassionate decisions about your vote that will translate into not only protection from harm, but political power for our communities.


Allies, it’s time to get off the sidelines.

Get involved with fighting anti-trans legislation today, and stay tuned for more blog posts in our summer series to mobilize our communities.

Take action with the Trans Formations Project. Volunteer or Donate.

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