Dear Beloved,

The end of 2019 has come, as has the end of a decade of many 50s. The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (1963), the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the historic march across Selma’s Edmond Pettus Bridge (1965) that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 50th anniversary of the murders of Malcolm X (1965) and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1968), the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing (1969), and of course, the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

As I reflect on all that happened in 2019, I can’t help but consider what will be memorialized in the next 50 years. This year at least 24 trans women were murdered, while the Equality Act (H.R. 5, S. 788) passed in the House of Representatives on May 17, 2019. The Supreme Court heard the cases of people fired for being gay or trans on October 8, 2019, while the Trump Administration began implementing the trans military ban on April 12, 2019. And on November 1, 2019 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it’s considering a rule that would allow federally-funded programs to turn away those in need because of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.

All this took place on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, when we remember that on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village NYC, Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson threw the first shot glass as an act of resistance against routine police raids in the gay community. Marsha’s courageous act of resistance was just one moment that marked the entire life of a black trans woman resisting a world not ready for her truth. Marsha, together with the honorable Sylvia Rivera ignited a movement that culminated in millions flooding the streets for World Pride 2019, celebrating our freedom to love who we want to love and live how we want to live as queer and trans persons.

As Unitarian Universalists, we are proud of the queer and trans UUs who have made Unitarian Universalism a Welcoming faith for LGBTQ+ identity and experience. In a religious climate that rewards bigotry and transphobia, Unitarian Universalism is striving to be a faith that not only Welcomes queer and trans persons, but celebrates and works toward LGBTQ+ equity and full inclusion. The 50th anniversary of Stonewall reminds us of how far we’ve come in a time when there are still great challenges ahead.

May we keep the faith and increase our Welcome while incessantly proclaiming the “inherent worth and dignity of every human being,” namely those living and loving while queer and trans.

Farewell 2019. All the Best in 2020!

CORRECTION: In the original publication of this newsletter, I included the quote “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” at the end of the first paragraph. The use of this quote was ableist and gendered, and falls short of my aspiration to always be on the side of the marginalized and oppressed. I am grateful for the diligence of those who brought this to my attention.

Rev. Michael J. Crumpler (He/Him/His)
LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs Director
Ministries and Faith Development

“It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught a  about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this earth like I had a right to be here.”
- James Baldwin

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