Transgender Rights

21 March 2023

The General Assembly passed a resolution in support of transgender people’s rights. The resolution states that Unitarians “affirm with joy that each person’s understanding and statement of their own gender identity is a matter of conscience” and “affirm that transgender rights are human rights.” Further, that the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches “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 “requests that the Chief Officer lobby for this model in response to UK or devolved government consultations and on any other suitable occasion.”

Andi Phillips, interviewed February 2023:

“I hope we will get to a situation eventually, within Unitarianism probably before wider society, where genuinely no one bats an eyelid, that we neither need to celebrate [having a trans identity] nor commiserate about it, that we have no issues whatsoever.

I hope for welcome in the meantime, I’d love to say ‘all are welcome’ in Unitarianism and that welcome is directly made. You are welcome, we need to keep on saying that, until it doesn’t need to be said anymore, until it is abundantly obvious that it isn’t needed anymore – and we have not yet passed the criteria for the threshold on that.

The last five years have been hellish for trans people. Press coverage is overwhelmingly negative. It means that just being a positive trans person is itself an act of complete defiance of the narrative. I fear for trans people and LGBT+ people and anybody who is a visible minority. I hope we are capable of turning back, but I don’t want us to go anywhere near the cliff edge.”

Derek McAuley, interviewed February 2023:

“There is still work to be done within the Unitarian movement. Each congregation is independent and has their own flavour, and that is good – but we need to make sure that the messages that are sent out nationally about being welcoming and accepting on a whole range of issues and identities are reflected on the ground. It’s about working with people, supporting people. The ‘trans’ issue is one we need to have a conversation about, there is a lot of conflict on that. We can make a contribution towards that debate around acceptance.”

“The values of respect, equality, acknowledgement, openness underpin a free and tolerant society – where acceptance should be the basis for how we live together. This is something that Unitarians have been committed to, we can develop that going forward.”