As our 57th Annual General Assembly approaches I can hardly to believe it’s been almost a year since I was elected President of the UUA. I have experienced this first year as one filled with enormous gratitude—for it is a gift to serve our faith in this way. But it has also been a year marked by heartbreak and the fierce urgency of how we must show up powerfully and boldly for our values and to protect each other.
It’s also been a joy to journey together with you as our Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith strives to live into our principles of justice and inclusion during these turbulent political times. My heart broke when the worth and dignity of transgender persons were called into question last summer by way of the hateful trans military ban. I was also deeply grieved during the observance of last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance as our hearts were drawn to the 28+ trans lives murdered in the United States in 2017, the highest on record. That most of these deaths were black transgender women reminds us that the work of dismantling white supremacy, patriarchy and transphobia is essential to our faith as Unitarian Universalists.
As we celebrate Pride in 2018, I am proud of the courage and resilience of our beloved LGBTQ and Non-Binary Unitarian Universalists who are showing up in the common struggle for justice and truth. Thanks to you, we continue the vital work of building Beloved Community by:
Voting at 2017 General Assembly to change the current language of the second source which reads, “Words and deeds of prophetic women and men,” to “Words and deeds of prophetic people…” so as to fully embrace the experiences of gender non-binary and transgender people.
Voting this GA to make our bylaws gender inclusive, replacing gender binary language “he or she” with the inclusive pronouns “they” throughout the bylaws.
Shifting the “Standing on the Side of Love” campaign to “Side With Love” to create a new imagining of the campaign without ableist language and recommitting to the work of disability justice.
It was a privilege to be side-by-side with Rev. Michael Crumpler, LGBTQ and Intercultural Programs Manager, to uplift the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality in Memphis at the MLK50 Commemoration and in Washington, DC, at the Poor People’s Campaign.
I am honored to serve alongside Co-Moderators of the UUA: Mr. Barb Greve, the first trans*/genderqueer Co-Moderator, and Elandria Williams, who is the first Black (non-binary) Co-Moderator.
Indeed, as we celebrate this month of Pride, we have much to be proud. And we also have much more to do to live into the radically inclusive, liberating theology of our faith. As we all show up proudly in and alongside the LGBTQ+ community during this month of Pride in 2018, may we also recommit to the work to make Unitarian Universalism a Welcoming Faith for all people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.
Yours in Faith,