UUs and Pride

UUs and Pride

Presented June 21st, 2020 on-line service  by Rev. Fiona Heath

Poet May Sarton wrote “We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”

For all of us becoming ourselves can be a challenge, when we find ourselves needing to speak our deeper truth, knowing it is a risk, that my truth may hurt another.

Our values may be different from our families and we must name this. We may need to end a marriage that we can no longer fit into or make a drastic change in career.

Being ourselves can be risky for all of us at times.

And yet that risk comes with reward – the reward of being true to our deepest self – of being known as who we are – of being loved as we are.

We know the value of daring to be ourselves – the foundation of Unitarian Universalist theology rests on each person having inherent worth and dignity – as we are.

Our theology calls each of us to the search for truth and meaning. And that search includes going within and acknowledging and honouring and speaking our own truth.

It’s not always easy for any of us, but for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and non-binary people it can be a much greater risk to be who they know themselves to be.

The price can be high. As a straight white woman I forget this sometimes.

After all we have had marriage equality in Canada for years.

But even here transgender teens are at a disproportionately high risk of suicide, they face high rates of harassment and bullying. Trans adults face discrimination in the workplace.

Many LGTBQplus people still pay a high price for being true to themselves.

True acceptance of LGTBQplus people is still a work in progress here in Canada.

There is more work to be done and it is our work as people of the chalice.

We are an official Welcoming Congregation, we have done the initial UU program to be an LGTBQplus inclusive space.

A few years ago we did the renewal. We wear our pro-nouns on our nametags. We lift up the rainbow flag.

But this is not mission accomplished – there is more to do to honour that rainbow flag –  to protect the rights of LGBTQplus – more learning about the full spectrum of gender and sexuality.

More work to be truly welcoming – to be intentionally and consciously inclusive so that all feel welcome, not just white middle class people.

Our rainbow flag sometimes feels a little monochromatic.

I know I haven’t always done this work myself. I am still learning and failing and learning some more.

This past winter I was able to take a UU course called Transforming Hearts on trans inclusion. It was fabulous and helped me see that we are heading into a new world.

Younger generations are learning to understand their gender identity and sexual orientation in much more open and fluid and accepting ways.

Male and female identities are part of spectrum, not essential expressions of biological fact.

It’s freeing and exciting – and a little bit intimidating.

This new world of gender queer and gender fluid and non-binary is a good one – it is a UU world.

It’s truly a celebration of the rainbow where people aren’t restricted by gender norms and social expectations but can simply be who they are and love who they love and dress as they please.

Think of Jonathan with his mustache and skirts on the Netflix show Queer Eye.

It’s a world that opens up possibility for all of us.

This is the world UUs want. The world where everyone can be themselves openly and proudly. Where no one lives in fear for being honest.

Where the rainbow flag flies high with all the colours.

One of Canadian Unitarian Universalism’s  aspirations is to be radically inclusive.

It’s up to each of us to help create a truly welcoming congregational culture– where difference is embraced with love.

This fall we will continue our communal work in Nurturing Inclusivity. I encourage you to find time this summer to learn more about new paradigms of gender and identity.

Check out the transforming hearts collective website.

Look up LGTBQplus resources at the Unitarian Universalist Association website.

Watch Queer Eye.

Support the rainbow and pride and say so.

May we help create a world of love and justice where all people are free to find their own truths about who they are and who they love.

I want to end with a reading for Pride month from an American colleague Elizabeth Ketchum.

With gratitude for the freedom to be our true authentic selves,
may we live the Spirit of Pride.

With the courage that comes from challenging fear,
may we live the Spirit of Pride.

With sorrow for those who could not be here with us today, and in honor of those who died of AIDS or who lost their lives,
may we live the Spirit of Pride.

With grief for those whose pain was unbearable and who left us too soon,
may we live the Spirit of Pride.

Looking ahead to the justice still withheld,
may we live the Spirit of Pride.

With the confidence that a sense of community banishes isolation and loneliness,
may we live the Spirit of Pride.

With the rainbow flag flying high, a sense of beloved community among us, and the joy that comes from making new connections,
may we live the Spirit of Pride.

So Say We All



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