Shige Sakurai (they/them)

Full name: Rev. Shige Sakurai

Special Assistant for Equity, Belonging, and Change

Office of the President in Administration

Shige Sakurai (they/them) is the Special Assistant for Equity, Belonging, and Change in the Office of the President at the Unitarian Universalist Association. In this role, Shige is the senior diversity affairs executive for the progressive religious denomination, where they advance institutional transformation strategies for liberation and multicultural flourishing.

Shige is also adjunct professor for American University’s International Training and Education Program; executive educator for University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center; and Editorial Board member for Including Disability journal. They previously served as a diversity expert at University of Maryland, College Park, and director at a national social justice advocacy nonprofit.

Through their advocacy, Shige received the first officially nonbinary, X-marker driver’s license in the United States. Shige founded International Pronouns Day, which has been conducted in dozens of countries, created a number one globally trending hashtag, and has been acknowledged on social media by the U.S. Department of State and UN Women, and through formal proclamations from the Governor of Virginia and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Shige has spoken at numerous U.S. federal agencies and dozens of universities, including Princeton, Yale, and Cornell. They have been quoted by global media, including Washington Post, CNN, Reuters, and BBC. Shige has an essay published by Oxford University Press. Shige’s website,, has reached over 15 million people and was archived by the Library of Congress.

Shige is an alum of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, American University, IE University, and Harvard Divinity School. They earned certificates from Georgetown University, University of Miami, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Smithsonian Associates. Shige’s qualifications encompass sociology, computer science, education, management, ministry, art history, and coaching.

The Reverend Shige Sakurai is ordained Druid clergy. They are also a Unitarian Universalist with atheist, Shinto, Buddhist, and Christian heritages.

From Shige Sakurai (they/them)

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Join me this International Pronouns Day on October 18, 2023. Learn more and educate others about the importance of pronouns for trans/nonbinary folks, and for all people to offer more dignity and respect in and beyond our UU communities. Even seemingly “small” actions can generate great impacts.

By Shige Sakurai (they/them) | October 13, 2023 | From Uplift
Tagged as: #LGBTQ, Acceptance, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer, LGBTQ Welcome & Equality

History can generate pride and happiness, but it also tells us about concerns we must still repair.

By Shige Sakurai (they/them) | December 1, 2021 | From Ideas
Tagged as: Activism, History, Inclusion, Personal Stories, Race/Ethnicity

A Ceremony for Proclaiming and Affirming Name and Pronouns By Shige Sakurai (they/them). This beautiful ceremony is for trans and nonbinary folks, and could also be used by anyone who is changing their name.

By Shige Sakurai (they/them), Jude Sylvan | June 29, 2020 | From Uplift

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