Message from the Minister
On Monday, October 11th , many in the LGBTQIA community celebrated National Coming Out Day by coming out maybe for the first time or the 100th or using the opportunity to recount their own coming out experience. As Unitarian Universalists we strive to be a welcoming, safe, affirming, and inclusive space where anyone who embodies any marginalized identity can bring their whole selves. We have updated our welcome to explain why we include our pronouns as an act of solidarity with Trans and nonbinary individuals. Using an individual’s personal pronouns or chosen name that is gender affirming is imperative in this work of solidarity. It can be especially important and even life-saving for trans and nonbinary youth because they see themselves reflected and know it is okay to be their full selves in our congregation.
You may have noticed that there are a few members/staff that use the pronouns they, them, theirs or use a combination of pronouns or have switched pronouns since you met them. We don’t always get pronouns correct and it can be challenging, BUT that means we need to practice more! Whenever we speak about an individual when they are there or not, it is important to practice the correct pronoun rather than defaulting to an “easier” option that we don’t have to explain. When I catch myself using the incorrect pronoun, I correct myself and then make a point of repeating their pronoun at the next opportunity in the conversation. This helps me reinforce the correct pronoun through repetition. I share that I am queer and nonbinary both as part of my own story and so others may know they are not alone. Coming out can be challenging for individuals that may not feel safe doing so in their family or their jobs or in their faith communities. Visibility can make a difference for someone deciding to come out and feeling safe in our UU congregations. Consider how the UU Church of Tallahassee can live more fully into welcoming and solidarity with the LGBTQIA community.
I hope that you will explore some of the links below and learn more about pronouns and that you will be able to attend service on Sunday, October 17th which will explore the relationship with wholeness for LGBTQIA individuals and in finding a supportive faith community.
Here are a couple of short articles:
A short reading on the inclusion of trans and nonbinary (my identity) people in UU congregations:
Merriam-Webster has added singular they and nonbinary to their definitions, which might be helpful as well.
The Trevor Project provides this information about mental health for the LGBTQIA community.
“Transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all of the people they lived with attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected by anyone with whom they lived.” For other information, you can visit their website.
If you have any further questions or would like to talk more about this, please feel free to email me and let me know what you need.
Published October 13, 2021