Uplift: Uplifting LGBTQ+ Experience Within and Beyond Unitarian Universalism


Image Description: UUA rainbow chalice next to the word UPLIFT in rainbow colors. Underneath, text reads, “Uplifting the LGBTQ+ Experience within Unitarian Universalism & Beyond.

Presidential Message

Dear Ones.

My heart is full this Pride month. Full of joy at the powerful, unapologetic expressions of wholeness, beauty, queerness, love, liberation and affirmation pouring out across our congregations, on my social media feed, and in the streets as we celebrate Pride!

And my heart is also full of heartbreak - and anger - at the oppressive laws and policies threatening the lives and well-being of our LGBTQIA+ children, young people and adults, our families, and the very fabric of communities.

And my heart is full of resistance and boldness. I keep hearing the Emma’s Revolution song “Never Turning Back” in my head. And I feel that power - singing out loud the lyrics, and ones I make up:

We’re going keep on singing loudly. 

We’re gonna keep on loving boldly. 

We’re gonna keep on living proudly. 

Never turning back. Never turning back.

These are heartbreaking times – but also defining times. And it matters how we show up.

We are experiencing the ways that outright political attacks, policy violence and dehumanizing rhetoric creates an environment that can provoke physical violence and further discrimination. We are seeing that kind of toxic culture during this Pride Month. Through word and action, authoritarian groups are threatening Pride activities, including events at UU congregations, because of their visible support of LGBTQIA+ people.

But Unitarian Universalism teaches a more loving way. We know the life-changing, life-affirming power of creating inclusive welcoming communities where all feel safe, where all belong, and where all can thrive. And we know that love is more powerful than fear. That love unlocks the human capacity for goodness. And so we will continue to show up powerfully - both pastorally, providing support and aid to our people and neighbors, and joyfully and prophetically, with committed organizing and bold moral courage.

We are clear and unapologetic. LGBTQIA+ people are sacred, whole, and divine. As Unitarian Universalists, we understand that the full expression of the diversity of gender and sexuality is a gift. As progressive people of faith, we know this is a fight for everyone’s humanity. Our commitment to love and justice, to inclusive ministry and prophetic action, is deep and life-affirming.

It is time for UUs to take action, and to deepen our work in the fight for the lives of trans, nonbinary and all LGBTQIA+ people. I see so many of you already fighting tirelessly - I want to thank you for your work. Whether you’re just starting out or deeply engaged, there is so much to do, and UPLIFT and staff across the UUA are building support and developing resources for these times. Please check them out and share with friends, loved ones, and colleagues.

This Pride Month, we pray especially for and with all our trans and nonbinary+ kids and adults and for their families and communities supporting them. And we pray for the safety and well being and joy of all of our Pride celebrations. May they give us inspiration and power, knowing we are never turning back!


The LGBTQ & Multicultural Ministries Office Is Growing

It is with much excitement and great appreciation that I introduce the newly hired staff of the UUA's LGBTQ and Multicultural Ministries Office. With their leadership and support our work of welcome and inclusion will be exponentially expanded as we seek to deepen our welcome, strengthen our anti-racist and anti-oppression lenses, and make our spaces more open and accessible than ever.

We invite you to join us on this journey and we move toward a world where all are radically welcomed and affirmed.

Learn More About Our Fabulous Colleagues

Adrian Ballou, LGBTQ and Gender Justice Programs Coordinator

Adrian joined the UUA in 2020 as the LGBTQ Ministries and Clara Barton Fellow and soon after launching the UPLIFT Trans/Nonbinary Gathering Space. In this new role, Adrian will continue to support LGBTQ ministries by growing this program and building the UUA’s capacity to support congregations and communities to welcome, fully include, and meet the ministry needs of people with diverse gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations.

Ayanna Kafi, Mosaic Project Manager

The Mosaic is the UUA’s new online hub of connection, resources, and support for dismantling racism & oppression. As Mosaic Project Manager, Ayanna will guide the Mosaic projects from concept to production by creating and up-keeping systems for project tracking, event management, online publication, and promotion through communication.

Gretchen Maune, Accessibility Resources Coordinator

As Accessiblity Resources Coordinator, Gretchen will provide virtual resources for Unitarian Universalist congregational and organizational leaders to create spaces, events, programs and communities which are accessible and inclusive to disabled participants.

Luca Alexander, LGBTQ Ministries and Clara Barton Gender Justice Fellow

At the UUA, Luca works on projects related to LGBTQ ministries and gender justice with Side With Love and Ministries and Faith Development. They will develop strategies for our new UPLIFT Action campaign that will combat anti-trans legislation and organize on behalf of gender equity.

Blessings Abound, 

Resources of Support for the Queer and Trans Community

From Facebook to TikTok, to Instagram; Religious Educators, Seminarians, and Ministers —all of us preaching the gospel of Queer & Trans Liberation, Queer Joy, and Gender Euphoria in digital spaces to help shift the conversation.

The Uplift Collective is made up of 10+ fierce and fabulous Unitarian Universalists who will be using their voices to spread love and solidarity with Trans & Queer people on social media.

We need you to help hold back the tide of hatred and misinformation about queer and trans people. Here are 3 steps you can take right now:

  • Visit The UPLIFT Collective  for all the social media links
  • Follow #UPLIFTCollective on social media
  • Like, comment, & share our messages
  • Create with us and use #UPLIFTCollective

Prepare for PRIDE Resources

As UU congregations are increasingly being targeted by right wing hate, we anticipate an uptick in attention and disruptive tactics during and beyond Pride month.

In early June UU religious professionals of many stripes from across the US, and we spent time sharing observations about the national context and emerging patterns among our congregations, offering some resources for congregations as you make plans for security and crisis response, and engaging one another’s experiences, wisdom, and questions to both foster connection and shape future resource and training creation at the UUA.

LGBTQIA+ Programming and Events at General Assembly

  • Visit  LGBTQIA+ and Multicultural Events at General Assembly 2023 and follow @UUA_lgbtq on Twitter and Instagram to learn about LGBTQIA+ Programming and Events at Multiplatform General Assembly.
  • Support UUA LGBTQ+ Ministries
  • Each of us has worth and dignity, and that worth includes our gender and our sexuality.
  • As Unitarian Universalists we not only open our doors to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, we value diversity of sexuality and gender and see it as a spiritual gift.
  • Your support helps keep our LGBTQ Justice and Public Witness work active and vibrant, as well as deepening our Welcoming Congregations program.