UUA Responds to Growing Legislative Attacks Against Trans and Nonbinary+ Kids and the LGBTQIA+ Community

These are heartbreaking times. They are also defining times. An onslaught of oppressive laws and policies are threatening the lives and well-being of our children, young people and adults, our families, and the very fabric of communities.

We affirm and remain in solidarity with trans and nonbinary+ people because this is a fight for everyone’s humanity.

We are experiencing the outright political targeting of transgender and nonbinary+ children and adults, including the banning of gender affirming healthcare, bans against trans kids playing sports, and laws criminalizing drag. This policy violence and dehumanizing rhetoric creates an environment that can provoke physical violence and further discrimination. We are also witnessing efforts to criminalize reproductive healthcare, comprehensive education about race, Black history, and gender, and numerous issues of human rights that are spreading across countless states nationally. These attacks cut right to the heart of our fundamental religious belief in the inherent worth and dignity of each person, a fundamental right of conscience, and the values of personal agency that give us all the opportunity to live fully into our whole selves.

These issues of censoring education and the targeting of LGBTQIA+ communities and communities of color are not unrelated. They are intended to divide and make neighbor afraid of neighbor. They coincide with efforts to dismantle democracy and individual agency, all by pushing authoritarian policies that violate the sanctity of our homes, our bodies, and our diverse religious beliefs. As progressive people of faith, we recognize the forces feeding these far-right efforts. Throughout history, we’ve seen these tactics and ideology before and it always leads to destruction and violence.

However, Unitarian Universalism teaches a different way. We know we must create communities where all feel safe and all belong. Our faith calls us to show up powerfully - both pastorally, providing support and aid to our people and neighbors, and prophetically, with committed organizing and bold moral courage.

We are clear and unapologetic. Our LGBTQIA+ siblings are sacred, whole, and divine. As Unitarian Universalists, we understand that the full expression of the diversity of gender and sexuality is a gift. Our commitment to love and justice, to inclusive ministry and prophetic action, is deep and life-affirming. We actively organize to promote the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. We work to end anti-Black racism, organize for racial justice, disability justice, gender justice, LGBTQIA+ equality, and support reproductive justice, climate justice and more.

Our hearts are with everyone in these frontline communities and states. Every day, we see a new regressive policy idea being introduced or debated. We pray especially for all our trans and nonbinary+ kids and their families and the communities supporting them. Trans and nonbinary+ people are living in an environment where legislators and policy makers are criminalizing their very existence. Trans children and their parents fear that the state will prevent them from receiving appropriate healthcare or from feeling secure in their families. It is forcing many people to consider relocating for their own safety and that of their families.

As progressive people of faith, we affirm and remain in solidarity with trans and nonbinary+ people because this is a fight for everyone’s humanity. We must actively work to create a society where trans children can be free to be who they are and fully live into their identity. And we must strengthen our partnerships across faith communities and with grassroots partners to build networks of safety and care while mobilizing for change that supports a more just, equal, and loving society.

Progress is not always constant or straightforward - and we will not succeed in opposing every bill targeted at our people and children. But we can find inspiration from our own Rev. Theodore Parker, who said in his sermon, “Of Justice and the Conscience” (PDF 11 pages), “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways…But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

The Unitarian Universalist Association has continued to use both our voice and our actions to show up for trans and nonbinary+ youth and individuals. Visit the UPLIFT Action webpage of Side With Love to see the ongoing work to support our trans siblings and loved ones – and ways that you and your congregation can participate.

UPLIFT also sponsors monthly gatherings for trans and nonbinary+ people of all ages and we welcome any trans and nonbinary+ individuals in need of support and community to attend. Additionally, in the past year, we have spoken out unequivocally against anti-trans policies in Texas and Alabama and have supported legal actions challenging these dehumanizing laws.

We know that more must be done in our communities, congregations, and within the association itself to protect vulnerable people. We know that more is being asked of us - and more is needed from all of us to respond to this moment with clarity, compassion, and courage. And we know that we have the tools to create safe harbors, to continue to educate our children and communities about the full expression of human sexuality and gender, and the skills to organize to defend our values, our people, and the right of all people to be free and thrive.

We cannot do it alone. As UUs, we understand that we are part of the interdependent web of all creation. We belong to each other and this knowledge fuels our faithful commitment to unwaveringly fight for justice; to unwaveringly fight for each other.