Unitarians vote to affirm transgender rights

26 April 2022

At the Annual Meetings of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches held on 19-21 April 2022 in Birmingham, delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to reaffirm transgender people’s rights and to support the adoption of a self-declaration model for gender recognition.

The motion was debated, with a number of transgender Unitarians speaking passionately in favour, as well as careful and compassionate voices speaking against it, raising concerns about elements of the motion. An overwhelming majority of delegates voted in favour of the motion, which was passed and received with applause and emotion in the hall.

Chief Officer Liz Slade said “Unitarian congregations have long been places that allow and encourage individuals to explore and express their true nature, offering belonging and acceptance. I’m proud that as a movement we have now formally expressed our support of trans people. My hope is that as a society we can move beyond the oppositional and divisive ways in which trans issues are often discussed, and I hope Unitarians can play our own small part in that.”

Unitarians have long been advocates for LGBTQ+ equality, dating back to the 1960s (find out more here). Today, Unitarians are the leading faith group in the UK offering same-sex marriage ceremonies and campaign for equal rights and justice for transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, and queer people. There are 160 Unitarian churches, chapels and meeting houses in Britain.

The full text of the resolution is as follows:

The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches:
a) Affirms with joy that each person’s understanding and statement of their own gender identity is a matter of conscience;
b) Affirms that transgender rights are human rights;
c) Joins the British Medical Association, the Trades Union Congress and others in civil society in urging the adoption of a self-declaration model for gender recognition by the UK and devolved governments; and
d) Requests that the Chief Officer lobby for this model in response to UK or devolved government consultations and on any other suitable occasion

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