Going Beyond Politics to Create a Movement

“At the moment we won, it hit me—this wasn’t just a city or state win, this was national. It was for the whole world,” remembers MoHagani Magnetek, a leader in the fight against anti-trans Proposition 1 in Alaska.

This spring, in what became a historic vote, Anchorage residents voted to uphold their local non-discrimination ordinance—making it one of the first municipalities in the country to retain protections for trans and gender diverse people at the ballot.

MoHagani, a longtime activist for trans rights, women’s rights, and in the fight for racial justice, explains that, for her, this campaign felt different.

“The way we won was significant,” MoHagani reflects. “We used our stories to humanize our lives. We spoke in a way that people couldn’t ignore us anymore. People had to see us as fully human.”

Pride Foundation was proud to be a founding member of Fair Anchorage, the campaign that worked tirelessly to defeat Proposition 1. Fair Anchorage centered the voices of trans and gender diverse people and their families, in order to give community members opportunities to better understand what it means to be transgender.

Lillian Lennon, a student activist at the University of Alaska and the Fair Anchorage campaign Field Organizing Director, tells a similar story of the broad impact of this campaign.

“Before the campaign, many people in Anchorage said that they didn’t know a trans person. We were able to put a face to our community—knocking on doors, making calls. It centered our humanity in a way that felt authentic and intentional.”

Both describe this fight as one they could not walk away from—a fight for their dignity, and for their very existence. They were not going to let their stories be defined by anyone else.

“As one of two black trans women that I know of in Anchorage, where I go to the bathroom is inherently dangerous for me,” MoHagani shares. “But I felt the need to play my part in this…and I know this movement is going to keep growing and that people will respect us more and more, like everyone else.”

Both Lillian and MoHagani are members of Trans Leadership Alaska (TLA), a group founded by and for trans and gender diverse Alaskans during the “No on Prop 1” campaign to create a safer and more welcoming Alaska. When discussing what is next, both MoHagani and Lillian reflect on the need to build on this momentum, and go beyond legal fights to focus on more education and awareness building.

“While we held onto our nondiscrimination ordinance, our legal rights before and after the campaign didn’t change,” MoHagani explains. “But our movement is stronger and better for it. Now that the campaign is over, we are going beyond bathroom politics and navigating the waters of becoming not just an organization, but a movement.”

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