You may have seen this article in the most recent UU World by Kimberly French, titled “After L, G, and B: Listening to transgender and nonbinary people is about respect, relationship, and whether we can be a truly inclusive faith.” Yes, that’s a long title. Unfortunately, the article focuses on the cisgender author’s experience, and gets a lot of things wrong.
Several people have responded with blog posts in different places. Zr. Alex Kapitan, who is quoted in French’s article, wrote a long blog post at “Roots Grow the Tree.” C.B. Beal, UU educator and consultant, wrote a detailed and informative piece at medium.com. TRUUsT (Transgender Religious Professional Unitarian Universalists Together) issued a statement. Transforming Hearts Collective has offered an excellent primer on how to talk about the article. Editor Chris Walton has issued a formal apology.
It’s the height of irony that (1) TRUUsT had just issued a report on the experiences of Trans UUs; and (2) the UU World cover article was “Nothing We Do Will Be Perfect.”
Perfection isn’t necessary – caring and compassion is. A few key tips from Transforming Hearts Collective (please do read their whole primer):
• Believe trans people
• Be willing to be uncomfortable
• Don’t expect every trans person to want to educate you, but honor those who do
• Don’t ask a trans person anything you wouldn’t ask a cis person
I would add to that last one – don’t ask any personal questions that you wouldn’t want someone to ask you.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort earned its status as a Welcoming Congregation just a couple years ago, and I’m proud to serve such a congregation!
What you may not know… Beginning this year, the UUA is requiring all Welcoming Congregations to renew their status annually. More to come on that, soon. For now, please read the original article, thoughtfully read some of the responses linked below, and think about our Fellowship being truly welcoming and affirming of all people, as we say each Sunday.
Rev. Lori Hlaban
Responses to the article
What It Takes to De-Center Privilege, Alex Kapitan
Centering the Marginalized: Symphony and Triptych, C.B. Beal
Putting the “T” First: Public Statement on This Week’s UU World Article, TRUUsT