A message from Rev. Suzelle Lynch

Nearly four decades ago, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) started speaking out officially against discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and actively working to secure LGB civil and human rights in the United States. In 2004 we at Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, Wisconsin became a UUA “Welcoming Congregation,” which means we have learned how to work against homophobia, are learning to fight transphobia, and that we continue to strive for radical inclusion. We continue to work to have our congregation be a place that embraces and celebrates the sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions of all of our members, friends, and neighbors, including our children and youth. This is work that is not finished, but we are committed to it as a community of faith that affirms the inherent worth and dignity of each and every person.

The federal government is now threatening the lives of our transgender and gender nonconforming church members, friends and neighbors.

According to a memo obtained by The New York Times, in late October the Department of Health and Human Services is working to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance. The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing. (see https://www.nytimes.com/…/transgender-trump-administration-… ) The current president and his administration show no respect for the inherent worth and dignity of those who are transgender or gender nonconforming — the Health and Human Services Department is attempting to erase the identity and rights of transgender people.

It is time for us to rise up against these hateful actions. We must listen to the transgender and gender non-conforming people in our community and follow their leadership.

If you are afraid or hurting in the wake of these hateful actions on the part of our government, know that UUCW is here for you. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, our Intern Minister, and I are here for you. Reach out to us, and reach out to each other. Our Interweave group is another excellent resource – it is our LGBTQIA+allies group; Kimberlee and I can help you get in touch with Interweave for support.

Opportunity to get involved! In response, our neighbors at Zao MKE Church led by Rev. Jonah Holm, and transgender rights group Forge WI are co-sponsoring a Rally for Trans Liberation this Sunday, October 28, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm at the Sunburst Statue outside of the Milwaukee Art Museum (https://www.facebook.com/events/516400022195047/). We are all invited and encouraged to be there and show our support. Signs will be available in the East Foyer at UUCW – or you may want to make your own sign by joining Zao MKE Church members and UUs on Saturday, Oct 27 from 10am-12pm at First Unitarian, 1342 North Astor Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53202.

For more information, to volunteer, or with questions, please contact Rev. Suzelle Lynch