Protect the Rights of Transgender Persons

Alice Diebel, she/hers, Intern Minister

Rev. Mitra Jafarzadeh is on sabbatical


It seems like ancient history that this country was arguing over which bathroom a person could use. I always wondered how on earth such a thing would be policed. You can use your imagination. But of course, some people do not express their gender in ways that reflect a binary of he/his or she/hers. Gender is fluid and not easily lumped into two categories, true in humans as well as elsewhere in nature. When I heard of this bathroom legislation, I feared for the safety of my transgender siblings far more than I feared my own when I use the women’s room and others are present.

Things got better for a while as gender identity got some protection under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and the military declined to enact proposed restrictions on transgender participation. But now, the administration has decided it is going to make the sex that a person is born with as, “…narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a government wide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law”[1] according to the October 21 New York Times. How does this help people live into human fullness and authenticity?

St. John’s is a Welcoming Congregation, which means we not only welcome and affirm transgender persons here through full inclusion in the life of the congregation, it also means we advocate for a full-spectrum of human rights for everyone on the LGBTQIA continuum. Our Unitarian Universalist Association spoke to the urgent need for protections in 2016 in the wake of all the bathroom legislation. The General Assembly passed an Action of Immediate Witness that year called: Stop the Hate: Protect and Support our Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Family.[2]

Our Universalist theology calls us to recognize that all persons have worth and dignity in our human family. Know this, our transgender siblings are anxious right now, for good reason. Hard won rights are being eroded rapidly. Already faced with high rates of suicide and murder, attacks from the government go too far. Reach out and listen to transgender siblings and ask what kind of support is needed. And continue to pay attention. Protecting the rights of the minority is one of key reasons we have checks and balances in our three-branches of government. You know what to do: educate, witness, advocate and vote.


In the spirit of love and justice,