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It Has Never Been About Bathrooms: 

A Letter from the Executive Director

February 23, 2017

Last night, President Trump's administration declared that schools around the country have a right to target and refuse to protect transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) children--specifically, that schools can refuse to let young people use the bathroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity.  And, just last month, Republicans in the Minnesota legislature introduced HF 91, a bill that similarly written to conflate sex and gender as biologically immutable, binary categories, and prohibits schools from protecting their students by allowing them to use the facility that corresponds with their gender identity.

Let's be clear: this is not about bathrooms.  This is not about safety.  This is not about anything other than bigotry and fear.  These transphobic stances--on both the national and the state level--will put trans and GNC students' lives even more at risk than they already are, and they are a clear declaration of war on the human and civil rights of the most vulnerable segment of one of the most at-risk groups of people in our nation.

Let's also be clear: this kind of transphobia is intimately linked with the destructive violence of white supremacy, militarism, and patriarchy.  Statistics show that a staggering 72% of hate violence homicide victims were trans women; transgender women are nearly twice as likely to experience sexual violence and assault than cisgender women; and trans/GNC people are 3.7x as likely to experience violence from police as cisgender people, while trans/GNC people of color are 6x more likely to experience violence from police as white cisgender people.  We cannot address these attacks on our trans and GNC kin without also committing to address these other oppressive systems.

Our Unitarian Universalist faith has long made a deep commitment to affirming the inherent worth and dignity of trans and GNC people, and rising in solidarity with all those who are targeted by transphobia and gender violence.  We believe all of us--including and especially our trans/GNC siblings--are created in the image of Divine, and any human attempt to deny trans/GNC people their full humanity and potential for freedom and flourishing is morally reprehensible. 

I am heartened that public officials in positions of power are decrying these transphobic bills and policy moves--including Governor Dayton and the Minneapolis Public Schools--but the fact remains that we cannot depend on individual institutions, cities, or even states to protect our trans/GNC children, and the broader trans community.  We must vocally resist transphobia in all its forms, and we must continue to follow the leadership of trans/GNC people (especially trans people of color) as they call us to concrete forms of allyship and solidarity.

MUUSJA remains committed to bringing Minnesota Unitarian Universalists together to do just this, and we invite you to join us.  We will be watching the national- and state-level legislative struggles, and letting you know about opportunities to show up for advocacy.  We will continue to develop partnerships with local organizations, such as OutFront Minnesota and the Minnesota Trans Health Coalition, to build relationships and accountability with those who are most directly impacted--and we will let you know about future opportunities for learning, public witness, and involvement.  And we will continue to support our UU congregations across the state as we continue to deepen our own learning and commitments to solidarity with trans/GNC people, both within and beyond our walls.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for ways to show up.

For those of you who want to learn more about trans/GNC issues in general, ministry with trans/GNC people in our congregations, or supporting trans/GNC students, I urge you to spend some time with the following resources:

And, most importantly, for those of you who are trans or GNC yourselves: 

Beloveds, please know that you are loved beyond measure.  You are beautiful, and you are worthy, and you are strong, and you are held in the embrace of a community who has your backs.  We know that our struggles are interconnected, and we commit to resisting anything or anyone that tries to diminish your dignity and your humanity.  We commit to hearing your stories, following your lead, and collaborating to build a world in which you are embraced and affirmed in your fullness.  None of us is free until all of us are free.  We love you, and we are with you.  

In Faith and Solidarity, 

1,000 Who CAIR

A Call to Action: Challenging Islamophobia & Defending Civil Rights

Saturday March 25 4-8pm

O'Shaughnessy Auditorium St. Paul, MN

event page

Minnesotan UU's will be joining this rallying cry to all who believe in religious freedom for Muslim Americans and all people. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota is hosting this event not only as a fundraiser/conference, but as a kick-off to its campaign to activate 10,000 Minnesotans in the fight against bigotry and hatred. The event will feature noted Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, Khizr Khan, Rep.. Ilhan Omar, Civil Rights Leader Nekima Levy-Pounds and many other politicians and entertainers such as comedians Jeremy McLellan and Danish Maqbool to inspire and energize people into ACTION.

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