Anti-LGBTQ groups create Project 2025, reducing LGBTQ people to an ‘ism

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Project 2025
What is Project 2025?

Both the Republican and Democratic parties are making their pitch to voters as the 2024 Presidential elections draw near. Notably, back in April 2023, multiple conservative organizations led by the Heritage Foundation created a policy guide called Project 2025, or the Presidential Transition Project.

Project 2025’s primary goal is to help provide policy guidance for the next Republican president if one of the current Republican candidates were to win office. To that end, this coalition of conservative organizations published a book, titled Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise. This massive document of 920 pages — available online for anyone to read —outlines the policies these conservative organizations recommend. This book covers a variety of policy guidance for topics like climate change, immigration, and LGBTQ rights.

As noted on its website, “over 70 conservative organizations” came together for this project. Additionally, multiple authors pen different chapters of the book. Some of the conservative organizations are notable anti-LGBTQ groups as defined by PFLAG, including the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council, and Moms for Liberty.

Multiple LGBTQ organizations and individuals have spoken up against the document since it was released. These groups have cited both the anti-LGBTQ policies laid out, along with dehumanizing language, as the basis for their criticism. For example, in just the foreword section of the book, Kevin Roberts writes, “Children suffer the toxic normalisation of transgenderism with drag queens and pornography invading their school libraries.”

“They’re never talking about transgender people or gay and lesbian people, it’s always referring to them as an ideology of some kind, or an ‘ism,’” said Sasha Buchert, the director of the Non-Binary and Transgender Rights Project for Lambda Legal, as quoted in The Guardian.

One passage likens the existence of trans people as pornographic. The passage reads, “Pornography, manifested today in the omnipresent propagation of transgender ideology and sexualization of children….” It also compares trans and nonbinary people along with their allies as “child predators and misogynistic exploiters of women.”

Another passage in the foreword section reads, “Pornography should be outlawed. The people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned. Educators and public librarians who purvey it should be classed as registered sex offenders. And telecommunications and technology firms that facilitate its spread should be shuttered.”

As Dame magazine reports, the implication of linking both pornography and the mere existence of trans people together is to try to eliminate any and all LGBTQ content — such as books and other media — and make it harder to live as a trans person.

“When they talk about pornography, this includes any content discussing or portraying LGBTQ figures from the children’s books I Am Jazz and And Tango Makes Three to the Trevor Project’s suicide hotline,” writes Brynn Tannehill for Dame magazine. “We know this by looking at how ‘don’t say gay’ laws have been implemented in Florida: This is literally their model.”

Along with rhetoric like this, the document also outlines additional policy guidance including but not limited to:

Project 2025
Project 2025 is real and is dangerous
  • Stripping anti-discrimination protections for people who are LGBTQ.
  • Banning trans and nonbinary people from serving in the military.
  • Withdrawing Ryan White HIV/AIDS guidance on using its program funds to help cover gender-affirming care.

Some of the document’s authors are well-known to be anti-LGBTQ by a variety of LGBTQ organizations. For example, one of the authors is Roger Severino, who the Human Rights Campaign described as a “radical Anti-LGBTQ Activist.” He once led the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.

Severino writes in chapter 14 that the next Republican president should direct HHS to “maintain a biblically based, social science–reinforced definition of marriage and family.” This passage would suggest emphasizing heterosexual marriages over that of same-sex marriages.

In addition, Jonathan Berry in Chapter 18 recommends that “The President should direct agencies to rescind regulations interpreting sex discrimination provisions as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, sex characteristics, etc.”

“Conservatives often frame their policy crusades as part of an effort to expand ‘religious freedom,’ a narrative deployed across the Trump administration to gut civil rights protections,” wrote progressive Christian activist Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, in an opinion piece for MSNBC. “But now ‘Project 2025’ is saying the quiet part out loud: Right-wing groups do not want to ensure all Americans have religious freedom, but want to impose conservative Christian views on our religiously-diverse country.”

Project 2025 is intended to be used by any Republican presidential candidate if one succeeds at winning the White House. “Project 2025 is providing a blueprint for any Republican administration,” wrote Graves-Fitzsimmons. It’s important to remember that this blueprint serves as a policy guide and that the election is still almost a year away. Knowledge is power.