Celebrant, Katie Allen
Today in this service we call Justice Journey, our particular justice focus is gender. Earlier this month, the UU World Magazine published a factually inaccurate and harmful article for which the author and the Editor have apologized.
The article attempted to relate the experience of transgender people in Unitarian Universalism but instead centered the experience of cisgendered people.
So today we consider how the margins can hold and guide the center—the way that the people marginalized in society are today’s new prophetic voices—and the reasons to start here, within each of our UU congregations. First Unitarian member Norio Umezu and I will offer reflections on our own experiences with gender. It’s an honor to share the pulpit with him today.
The Celebrant Team worked together to choose the songs we’ll be singing as well as the reading by Marcaé Grair.
Once we heard about the UU World article, it was evident that we should raise the important issues that emerged from this controversy. But how to center marginalized voices when most of the Celebrants and your ministers are cisgender people? Birch Spick is gender nonbinary, but they’ve shared their experiences before. Asking Birch to speak again seemed awkwardly tokenistic.
So instead I asked Norio—and I was incredibly awkward and tokenistic when I explained that I wanted him to speak because of his gender. I’m incredibly grateful that he agreed to take part in this service.
What we’re hoping to do here—what I hope all cisgender people will do—is to center the marginalized voices of transgender and gender nonbinary people.
It isn’t easy, and there will be plenty of awkward moments. But it’s part of our justice journey.
Special Music: Bell Ave. Ringers