The UU Common Read

A graphic illustration shows the head and shoulders of nine different adults in individual squares, as in an online meeting.

A UU Common Read creates community for learning and reflection, whether we gather in person or online.

When we do a UU Common Read together, we share in reflection, learning, and action. A UU Common Read can take us on a powerful journey into what it means to be human and accountable in a world filled with both pain and joy.

Photo of the cover of Authentic Selves: Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary People and Their Families

Authentic Selves

The Common Read, Authentic Selves, is a sweeping compilation of life stories and portraits of trans and nonbinary people, as well as their partners, parents, children, siblings, and chosen family members. This important new book was developed in collaboration with PFLAG National and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Common Read 2024-25: Authentic Selves

The 2024-25 UU Common Read is Authentic Selves: Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary People and Their Families (Skinner House, 2023).

Through interviews and photo portraits, the subjects of this book invite readers into their real lives--their revelations, challenges, joys, and networks of support. From the foreword by transgender activist Jazz Jennings and her mom and fellow activist, Jeanette Jennings, through the resources offered at the book's end, this Common Read invites UU groups to explore the nature of living authentically and the ways connections among us help us thrive.

As the book ends, Peggy Gillespie, who conducted the interviews, writes, "...the journey of self-discovery continues for the participants and for you, the readers. Whether you are trans and/or nonbinary, questioning your identity, have trans and nonbinary loved ones, or perhaps all of the above, please remember always that you are not alone. In every moment of your lives there are opportunities to strengthen your pride and acceptance of all people, including yourselves."

Discussion Guides

This Common Read offers two, parallel discussion tracks: one for a UU group with any or mixed gender identities, and one for UU participants with a trans or nonbinary identity. Each discussion guide consists of four 90-minute sessions that religious professionals or lay leaders may facilitate in-person or online. Coming in Fall 2024: workshops for youth and families.

The Invitation and Overview page offers complete resources and recommended practices to bring the UU Common Read of Authentic Selves: Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary People and Their Families to your UU group.

Purchase from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop. Discounts on bulk orders of 10 or more books.


Coming by Fall 2024.

Previous UU Common Read Selections

2023-24 On Repentance and Repair by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg; UU Common Read resources for On Repentance and Repair

2022-23 Mistakes and Miracles by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin; UU Common Read Mistakes and Miracles resources

2021-22 Defund Fear by Zach Norris; UU Common Read Defund Fear resources

2020-21 Breathe by Imani Perry; UU Common Read Breathe resources

2019-20 An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press, 2015) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People  adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese (Beacon Press, 2019); UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 37 pages)

2018-19 Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom; UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 34 pages)

2017-18 Centering (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 28 pages)) and Daring Democracy (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 31 pages))

2016-17 The Third Reconstruction by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 27 pages))

2015-16 Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (UU Common Read discussion materials)

2014-15 Reclaiming Prophetic Witness by Paul Rasor (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 20 pages))

2013-14 Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 20 pages))

2012-13 The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 19 pages))

2011-12 Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 17 pages))

2010-11 The Death of Josseline by Margaret Regan (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 28 pages))