Synod overwhelmingly affirms dignity of trans and nonbinary persons
To huge cheers, and also many tears, the United Church of Christ’s 34th General Synod overwhelmingly approved a resolution affirming the dignity of trans and nonbinary persons.
The final count of the July 4 vote was 633 in favor and 10 against, with six abstaining. The resolution “reaffirms the historic commitment of this church to recognize and affirm that every human being is created in the image of God and is due respect for their inherent human dignity and rights so that they may not only survive but thrive.” It further encourages “all settings of the church, working with local partners, to advocate for the full legal equality of transgender, nonbinary and gender diverse persons.”
“What sparked this was the bills coming up against youth and children, but it really is a comprehensive resolution,” said the Rev. Kim Wood, Conference Minister of the Southeast Conference, one of the Conferences that proposed the resolution.
‘The time is now’
In presenting the resolution in plenary, committee chair the Rev. Kelle Brown of Plymouth UCC in Seattle in the Pacific Northwest Conference said, “We must stand with trans and non-binary siblings who endure high rates of death by suicide, gender dysphoria, high percentages of trans youth experiencing homelessness and rejection by family and community. The time is now.”
The language of the resolution includes a wide scope. It addresses the current political atmosphere in the United States by acknowledging, “Whereas the human dignity and human rights of transgender and nonbinary people are being threatened in at least 30 states through legislation that denies access to life-saving healthcare, participation in sports, and utilization of gender appropriate bathrooms.”
It further states that “gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition that, if left untreated, can result in severe anxiety and depression, self-harm and suicidality.”
No voices against
During discussion on the resolution, Ellie Smith, a youth delegate from the Rocky Mountain Conference said, “I support this resolution because I lost a good friend to suicide who was not accepted by her own parents as trans.” She added that she also fears for others, such as a trans man she is dating.
Many others spoke out in support of the resolution — parents, pastors, trans youth; in fact, no one came forward to speak against the resolution.
In addition to reaffirming the human dignity of transgender and nonbinary persons, the resolution finally resolves that the UCC calls on the leadership and other appropriate ministries to create and share resources to help congregants, communities, policymakers and activists to help develop gender-affirming practices in all settings of the denomination.
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