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2016 Action of Immediate Witness

BECAUSE—“Injustice at Every Turn,” a 2011 nationwide survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people, detailed overwhelming discrimination across multiple major areas of their lives: education, employment, health, family life, housing, and public accommodations;

BECAUSE—Equality in all these areas is a fundamental human right;

BECAUSE—Transgender and gender non-conforming people are routinely mistreated while in law enforcement custody;

BECAUSE—Transgender and gender non-conforming people face obstruction, harassment, and abuse in attempting to obtain identity documents in their true gender, which serves to increase the social isolation transgender and gender non-conforming people experience and diminishes their ability to participate fully in society;

BECAUSE—Transgender and gender non-conforming people are frequently isolated socially as a result of hate and discrimination, which leads to a general lack of understanding in our society concerning transgender and gender non-conforming people;

BECAUSE—Hate and discrimination lead to transgender and gender non-conforming persons being at substantially increased risk of violent attack;

BECAUSE—All of the discrimination, harassment and increased risk of physical, sexual and psychological violence that transgender and gender non-conforming people suffer contribute to a shockingly high rate of attempted suicide - a rate ten times higher than the average for the general population; and

WHEREAS, is in keeping with our First Principle - The inherent worth and dignity of every person; our Second Principle—Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and our Sixth Principle - The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; the following actions are immediately needed to improve the life situations and safety of transgender and gender non-conforming persons

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that We, the Delegates of the 2016 UUA General Assembly, call on Unitarian Universalists to:

  1. Strongly condemn the anti-transgender legislation recently passed in North Carolina, known as HB-2, in Tennessee as HB-1840, and in Mississippi as HB-1523, and call for their immediate and full repeal;
  2. Make a strong statement against the passage of any further bills targeting transgender and gender non-conforming persons in other states where they are pending;
  3. Support passage of The Fairness Act (see footnote 1) and similar federal anti-discrimination legislation so that transgender and gender non-conforming persons might have their ability to fully participate in society affirmed and protected;
  4. Pledge to educate ourselves and our faith and civic communities to provide ever safer, more inclusive, and potentially healing spaces for transgender and gender non-conforming people;
  5. Pledge to educate social workers and educators about transgender and gender non-conforming people’s needs;
  6. Pledge to educate health care professionals and law enforcement officers about transgender and gender non-conforming people’s needs;
  7. Pledge to educate legislators and other government officials about the need for transgender and gender non-conforming people’s need for proper identification documents; and
  8. Pledge to educate employers, agencies, and institutions about the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming people who might be employees, students, clients and customers, and encourage these employers, agencies and institutions to adopt affirming policies.

Footnote 1: The Fairness Act amends existing state or local civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.  Typically, this will prohibit discrimination in employments, public accommodations, education, credit or lending, and housing; create a private right of action for aggrieved individuals and provide for enforcement through a government agency.

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For more information contact socialjustice@uua.org.

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