[AMENDED] UUA Business Resolution: Embracing Transgender, Nonbinary and Intersex People is a Fundamental Expression of UU Religious Values

Ballot Result from General Session III
This Business Resolution passed. It received more than 2/3 vote of support.

Adopt Business Resolution

Option Votes
Adopt business resolution 1948 (91.8%)
Do not adopt business resolution 174 (8.2%)
Total 2180
Abstain 58 (2.7%)

NOTICE: This Business Resolution has been updated to include Amendments #1 & #2 . See the changes in-line by clicking the linked words. Additionally you can view the revision history on any post by clicking on the pencil icon Screenshot 2023-06-12 at 12.29.36 PM found at the top right of the post.


80   On behalf of the member congregations and communities of the UUA, we proclaim that our
81   principles and values unequivocally commit our faith to honor and celebrate the full spectrum
82   of gender identity and expression. Being transgender or identifying with any gender other
83   than the one assigned at birth, is a beautiful and divine manifestation of humanity; as is being
84   intersex, or having sex characteristics that vary from what is considered typical. As Unitarian
85   Universalists, we affirm the inherent worthiness and dignity of each person as a core principle.
86   The ability to live ever-more authentically as one’s true self is central to a lifelong journey
87   towards spiritual fulfillment.

88   As a people who put love at the center of our faith, that love calls us to fully embrace equity
89   for transgender, nonbinary, intersex, and gender diverse people in our congregations and the
90   wider world. For generations, Unitarian Universalism has advocated for equity for lesbian,
91   gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people,[1],[2] gender equity[3], [4] and
92   reproductive justice.[5] As our scientific and sociological understandings of gender have evolved,
93   our faith, too, has expanded our commitments to explicitly include the spectrum of gender
94   expressions and identities as an integral aspect of our frameworks for freedom and flourishing.

95   The imperative to care for those most at risk, especially due to systems of injustice, is one of
96   our defining religious commitments throughout our UU history. These systems imperil the basic
97   human right to experience freedom from discrimination in all areas of life, including healthcare,
98   education, housing, employment, free expression, and beyond. Denial of medical care and
99   basic human rights causes profound damage and trauma, and is a violation of our core
100   religious principles. Securing these rights for LGBTQI+ people and communities, whose rights
101   are now at risk, is essential for their lifelong development and thriving.

102   Not only has our nation failed to enact federal legislation clarifying protections for queer
103   communities, but hundreds of new oppressive laws and policies across dozens of states and
104   countries are now targeting reproductive justice and transgender people across their lifespans.
105   These policies are aimed to perpetuate the patriarchal status quo; to control and deny the
106   bodily autonomy of transgender and nonbinary people, intersex people, and cisgender women
107   which threatens that status quo; and to erase queer, transgender, and gender diverse people
108   from existence. We recommit ourselves as a people of faith to resisting these despicable
109   policies and to advocating for basic human rights where they are most endangered.

110   We acknowledge the risks to transgender youth, who have fewer rights and whose access to
111   life-saving gender-affirming medical care is under legal and political attack. As the UUA stated
112   in a federal court filing to defend gender-affirming care for youth, “In ceremonies of dedication,
113   many Unitarian Universalist congregations acknowledge a child’s sacred life and commit to
114   support the family in its key role of guarding the child’s life, freedom, and opportunities.”[6] Laws
115   which restrict the ability to even discuss LGBTQI+ experiences cut youth off from history,
116   mentorship, and freedom of self-expression, causing painful impacts to social, intellectual and
117   emotional wellbeing. We charge one another, and especially our leaders, to protect and honor
118   our transgender, nonbinary and gender expansive youth members and their families as they go
119   through the stages of spiritual and personal identity development.

120   The General Assembly, as the ultimate authority in our Association,[7], now weaves these strands
121   into a foundational profession of our faith’s values in support of transgender and intersex
122   people. Through the democratic process of the General Assembly, Unitarian Universalists
123   have confirmed that discrimination against transgender people is incompatible with UU values
124   and principles; resistance to transphobia is core to UU commitments of justice and liberation.
125   Most recently in 2021, the General Assembly voted to “affirm that living one’s identity, in
126   terms of gender identity/expression, sex characteristics, and affectional/sexual orientation,
127   is part of our free exercise of religion, and that religious exceptionalism that promotes
128   discrimination abridges human rights and our free exercise of religion.”[8] The UUA’s Welcoming
129   Congregations program for LGBTQI+ inclusion was authorized by the General Assembly,
130   and over 80% of UUA congregations have now been recognized for their participation, whose
131   members comprise 93% of our total membership.

132   As a covenantal faith, the heart of our religious beliefs and structure lies in the mutual
133   commitments we make to one another on behalf of our values and principles, and in the
134   practice of living out those commitments in religious community. This structure is rooted in
135   the Cambridge Platform of 1648 of our religious forbearers, which established that 1) freely
136   entering into a covenant with one another binds us in religious community, 2) true covenant
137   must be practiced and not merely professed, and 3) congregations cooperate to ensure
138   one another’s welfare and faithfulness. Our religious tradition is a living one, and today we
139   collectively declare that our covenant inescapably binds us to affirmation and protection of our
140   transgender and intersex members and kindred, in faith and in practice.

141   To enact this covenantal commitment to honor, defend and celebrate the spectrum of gender
142   identity, we call on all UU congregations, leaders and members to affirm their commitment
143   through parallel actions. Those actions can include:

144       • Condemning all anti-transgender legislation, demanding the repeal of anti-transgender
145         laws, and working to block additional such bills;
146       • Partnering with local and state organizations led by transgender, nonbinary, and intersex
147         people to advocate for their needs and interests;
148       • Supporting organizations that help people relocate or access health care including
149         across state lines, such as the Pink Haven Coalition;
150       • Participating in UPLIFT Ministries programs
151       • Directly supporting member congregations and communities of the UUA engaged in this
152         ministry in oppressive states and communities;
153        • Amplifying campaigns for bodily autonomy, such as Side With Love’s UPLIFT Action
154         campaign;
155       • Participating in the Welcoming Congregation renewal program;
156       • Affirming this commitment locally through votes and investment of the congregation.

157   We hereby pledge our collective faithful efforts to the full affirmation and celebration of
158   transgender, nonbinary, intersex and gender diverse people within our congregations and the
159   wider community, and uphold this commitment as a fundamental obligation revealed by our
160   principles and values.


  1. 1970 Resolution on Discrimination Against Homosexuality and Bisexuality, which urged “all peoples immediately to bring an end to all discrimination against homosexuals, homosexuality, bisexuals, and bisexuality.” Discrimination Against Homosexuals and Bisexuals ↩︎

  2. 1989 Resolution on Proposals from the Common Vision Planning Committee, which stated “Unitarian Universalists have consistently committed ourselves through the General Assembly to the dignity and rights of gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons and to their full inclusion in our movement” Proposals of the Common Vision Planning Committee ↩︎

  3. 1977 Resolution on Women and Religion, which “Charge[d] UUs to “examine carefully their own religious beliefs and the extent to which these beliefs influence sex-role stereotypes within their own families.” Women and Religion ↩︎

  4. 1987 Resolution on Right to Choose, which stated "Unitarian Universalists believe that the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the right of individual conscience, and respect for human life are inalienable rights due every person; and that the personal right to choose in regard to contraception and abortion is an important aspect of these rights…We reaffirm the right to choose contraception and abortion as a legitimate expression of our constitutional rights.” Right to Choose ↩︎

  5. 2015 Statement of Conscience on Reproductive Justice, which stated “As Unitarian Universalists, we embrace the reproductive justice framework, which espouses the human right to have children, not to have children, to parent the children one has in healthy environments and to safeguard bodily autonomy and to express one’s sexuality freely… Unitarian Universalists support gender equity, positive sexuality, diverse sexual expression and the individual’s right to make reproductive choices. Reproductive Justice | Statement of Conscience | Social Witness Statements | UUA.org ↩︎

  6. Amicus curiae brief authored by the UUA in Paul A. Eknes-Tucker v. State of Alabama. USCA11 Case: 22-11707 Document: 137-1. September 18, 2023. ↩︎

  7. 2019 Statement of Conscience, “Our Democracy Uncorrupted.” Our Democracy Uncorrupted | Statement of Conscience | Social Witness Statements | UUA.org ↩︎

  8. 2021 Action of Immediate Witness, “Defend and Advocate with Transgender, Nonbinary and Intersex Communities.” Action of Immediate Witness: Defend and Advocate with Transgender, Nonbinary, and Intersex Communities  ↩︎

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This looks great! I’m curious who wrote it and what comes before line 80.
Thanks

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When is the voting and/or discussion on this item?

Thank you for bringing this to the business of GA. Transphobia is deeply institutionalized and so horribly harmful. I hope that UUs use this as an opportunity to be better allies and more welcoming. Transphobia is a part of white supremacy and colonialism and at the intersections of racism, anti-Blackness and xenophobia. These are all connected transphobia and health inequalities and housing inequalities.

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Is it just me or is the title a bit awkward? “Embracing Transgender, Nonbinary and Intersex People as Fundamental Expressions of UU Religious Values” makes it sound like transgender, nonbinary and intersex people are fundamental expressions of UU religious values. What if it said “Embracing … People as a Fundamental Expression of UU Religious Values”? It’s the embracing that’s the expression of our UU values.

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Agreed- when I read this I feel that as a nonbinary person, I am a fundamental expression of UU Religious Values, which seems weird/awkward.

What about “Embracing Transgender, Nonbinary and Intersex People is a Fundamental Expression of UU Religious Values”

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“Fundamental Expressions” is plural. I think not to lump transgender, nonbinary, and intersex people as one idea.

I’m also wondering if it is about a theological change, and not just a nice way to say we support gender equality. If our bodies are sacred, then we might see trans folks as a fundamental expression of UU values.

I mean, for me, I think of myself as a fundamental (personified?) expression of UU values.

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Submitted amendments for the business resolution will be discussed during the Mini-Assembly on June 5. The Zoom access link will be posted in the delegate platform (delegate.uua.org) as it is only available to delegates.

Discussion of the Business Resolution during General Session is expected to take place Saturday June 22. See the Final Agenda for details of when business discussions take place and keep in mind that the agenda may change.

To reduce confusion we try to not repeat line numbers across each business item on the agenda. Lines 1-65 refer to the Article 2 Proposal and lines 66-80 refer to the by-law amendment. And as I type this response, I’m noticing that 80 got used twice! :man_shrugging:

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I suspect that transgender, nonbinary and intersex people know they are an expression of UU values (my daughter certainly is!) and probably most UUs know this, but not every one does. When we make a public declaration, we as Unitarian Universalists affirm this knowledge. Kind of like “can I have a witness!” I am gratified to see traditional denominations make a public statement. These statements influence the folks that make our laws. They make us examine our own understanding. My daughter (embracing herself as a transgender woman at age 40) lives in Idaho which is vying with Ohio (where I live) for ‘most transphobic state’. Let’s shout this to the world… and any hard-of-hearing persons in our communities.

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@ Mary, I love everything about what you wrote except the bit about hard-of-hearing folks. I’ve been learning ASL for over 3 years and more than half of us hearing folks will have significant hearing loss as we age. I wouldn’t want to characterize anyone with a difference in hearing as being more or less closed minded than anyone else. I’ve been learning about audism - is a form of discrimination or prejudice against people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It can include discriminatory thinking that suggests people who are deaf or hard of hearing are inferior to those who are not, or a general lack of willingness to accommodate them. Audism can also involve negative assumptions about a person’s abilities, education, or ability to do things in life.

On a more positive note: I love that you’re thinking outward of how this bus res sides with transgender, nonbinary and intersex people outside of UUs as well as your support of your daughter <3

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Then you’ll love my comment on micro aggressions. I am hard of hearing. There is a fine line between humor and hurt. I was thinking of people who have difficulty acknowledging a problem. I can scream (I don’t) at certain relative that children know when they are transgender and age appropriate education is really important. She has difficulty “hearing” things that cause cognitive dissonance . Help me with an other “air quote” phrase I might use . :slight_smile:

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@ Mary, That is a great question. I’ll think on it more. My first takes are deliberately obtuse, intentional misunderstanding, feigned ignorance, purposefully misinterprets or deliberate misinterpretation. Thanks for being so cool about rethinking it.

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It seems that the “Embracing” itself was meant to be the “fundamental expression of UU religious values,” rather than the “people” being the “fundamental expression of UU religious values.”

Personally speaking, as a trans and nonbinary person myself, I don’t think of myself as a symbol or expression of a value–just a person :wink:

The grammar confusion caused by the original phrasing is why I think the proposed revision to “Embracing … is a fundamental expression …” is a good idea.

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Folks, I am having trouble with the format of this discussion. I love everyone’s contribution but I get the threads mixed up. I just do better in person so I’m going to bow out . Like the song, how could anyone not love you :two_hearts:

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@ Mary Elizabeth: I’m not sure this will help or not. What I do is go to this link https://discuss.uua.org/ and click on “latest” or “unread” and that helps me follow along.

I also keep really good notes in a google doc with links to all the things I want to follow as save bookmarks in a folder on my browser for easier access.

I think UUs could benefit from a tech chaplain to help folks connect more fully with the assistance of tech <3 See you at GA if you opt of these discussions here.

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Larry, I noticed that too. An unfortunate oversight :frowning:

Adding this here though it sounds like it’s too late for more amendments: there doesn’t seem to be a clear acknowledgement here (or in the proposed amendment from tonight) that transphobia and queerphobia etc also comes from within congregations and that that should also be condemned (to use the wording of the first bullet point). Sometimes supporting congregations/boards can actually harm marginalized people within those congregations who are suffering abuse from the inside and from board leadership (which I’ve heard happen with a few different kinds of privilege in different congregations in recent years). Only supporting “congregations” (ie: boards) can be quite problematic, especially when they can’t be held accountable for their actions in our faith (because of “congregational” independence)

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I have a concern that the below language is a challenge to congregational independence within our denomination. It would be a major change in our denominational governance if one congregation was required to abide by some other congregation’s own definitions of “cooperate” and “welfare and faithfulness.”
Below is quoted from the resolution:
“2) true covenant must be practiced and not merely professed, and 3) congregations cooperate to ensure one another’s welfare and faithfulness.”

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Hi Kenneth,

So that’s language from the Cambridge Platform from 1648 which is like our historical founding governance document. I think they were quoting it there, not prescribing anything.

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