The following submission is printed without edits. Rev. KC Slack has shared the view of a nonbinary individual reacting to an article in the latest edition of UU World. We will not link directly to it, so that it does not gain standing on search engines or social media. It is on Page 30 of the print edition.
Make sure you read page 36-37 as well.
We also ask you to read this announcement from the folks at TRUUsT.
Hello, UUs. We need to have a chat about something that was published in the UU World this month.
I won’t be linking it because I won’t and you can find it yourself, but here’s the deal: there is a piece ostensibly about trans issues which was written by a cishetero woman and misses the mark in some very painful and predictable ways. This article was written and published with very minimal engagement with trans UUs or members of TRUUsT and without giving trans voices the same amount of ink (as it were) as is being given to this individual cis person’s working through of her feelings about gender. The one trans person quoted in the article informed us members of TRUUsT that they had tried to push back on the whole concept of the piece and encourage the UU World to publish trans voices on this issue, but were told no.
I don’t have a lot of interest in picking apart the specifics of this piece (though I can tell you that I was injured and unable to trust the author from the 4th paragraph during which she unnecessarily and unedited uses the word “f**ott“) which is probably a very relatable process piece for a lot of cis people. What I want to talk to you about is how we hurt marginalized people when we are so much more invested in the feelings of people with privilege than in the material oppression of less privileged folks. When the conversation always has to be about how hard our pronouns are for cis people or how difficult all this new language is, the discussions trans folks (and other marginalized folks!) need to have can’t happen because we’re always being injured or explaining our existence for your benefit. When the ink goes to cis lady self-congratulation and not to the voices of trans people in our communities, you shut us out and, frankly, make it so that our communities remain unlikely to grow or do meaningful work.
My dear friend Gregory Boyd speaks often of our need to stop thinking about inclusivity and start working on growing from the margins, and this I think is a great example of why. Focus on inclusion leads to this sort of naval gazing “allyship” which does not make marginalized people feel safe and, in fact, makes us pretty unsafe.
I’m hurt by this piece and by the UU World’s choice to publish it at the exclusion of seeking out trans voices. I encourage you all to consider how frequently the voice everyone needs to hear, the voice with the most valuable things to say, is the one perhaps least like the communities we already exist in. I need you to think about how self-congratulatory and self-declared allyship strangles marginalized communities which are already fighting for air.
I am hurt, but I love you enough to think you can do better. So please try.
Trans: Short for Transgender, meaning someone who has embraced a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. This can take many forms. The Prefix “Trans-” means “across or through”. Transgender is an adjective.
Cis: Cisgender; Describing a person who embraces the gender they were assigned at birth. The Prefix “Cis-” means “On the same side as”. Cishet or Cishetero combines “Cisgender” and “Heterosexual” into one portmanteau.