Here are two contrasting pieces of news from the past week regarding state laws that affect the LGBTQ+ community–and all of us. The first is from Michigan, as reported on the website of Bridge Michigan:
The second is from Tennessee, as reported on the website of National Public Radio:
I have two thoughts to share about this today. One comes from a place of righteous anger and one comes from a place of reflection.
Here and now I reaffirm my stance, and the stance of Unitarian Universalism, on LGBTQ+ rights: That trans people are divine. That discrimination and oppression of any kind–including anti-queer and anti-trans discrimination–is immoral and contrary to UU beliefs and values. That our commitment as a congregation and as a nation-wide/world-wide faith is to be welcoming to people of any sexuality and of any gender expression. That those of us who are straight (heterosexual) must do the work to understand and advocate for our gay/lesbian/bisexual fellow human beings. That those of us who are cisgender must do the work to understand and advocate for our transgender/drag queen/gender non-conforming/non-binary/they-them fellow human beings. And that we are called by our religious values to confront injustice and hateful rhetoric and policies wherever we find them, including in local, state and national governments.
Taking a deep breath, the second thought I wish to share today is reflective. There is both good news and bad news reported above. One state is affirming LGBTQ+ rights and one is attacking those rights–but my mind is consumed with the bad news. The news media that I watch is covering the bad news far more than the good news. It’s important for my mental and spiritual health to remember the good news, and it’s important for me as a faith leader to remind everyone of the hopeful truth as well as the scary truth. Let us affirm that we can and do create loving safe spaces for people of all genders and all sexualities. Let us affirm that many people–the majority of people, I venture to say–are with us on this. Let us gain strength from one another in our small circles (friends, family, congregation) who are working for LGBTQ+ rights and those in the larger circles (state and national policy makers and social justice leaders) as well. May we celebrate accomplishments as we fight like crazy against hateful policies and rhetoric. May we remember and celebrate the good news.
May gratitude and blessing flow to those lawmakers who vote for inclusion, for the rights of the oppressed and marginalized, for justice and fairness and protection.
May drag queens and trans youth in Tennessee and everywhere be safe; may they know that they are divine and holy and good just as they are; may they never be alone.
May each of us do what we can to promote a world of greater equity and safety and inclusion; of greater love and community for all.
May it be so.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
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Rev. Andrew Frantz
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