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Transgender Identity & Inclusion Webinar from Standing on the Side of Love [more]
Trans Etiquette: Welcoming Transgender Communities to the MCC [more]
Top 10 Ways to Make Your Church More Inclusive [more]
Making Your Jewish Congregation or Community More Transgender Friendly [more]
Transgender: Identity, Welcome, and Resources

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) reference document with definitions and welcoming tips, suitable for use as a handout.

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Making Your Community More Transgender-Friendly

"Making Your Community More Transgender-Friendly," is a 5 page PDF written for Jewish audiences and provides important insight into making any faith community more transgender-friendly. Developed by Reuben Zelllman with TransTorah. 2004. Available for free, on-line.

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Practical Tips for Faith Communities

Key Points

It is important that faith communities work pro-actively to become educated about gender, so transgender visitors can feel welcome and understood. Many useful study guides exist that can help a congregation to explore gender identity and expression in your faith tradition.

Going Deeper

These tips are adapted from transACTION: A Transgender Curriculum For Churches and Religious Institutions by Barbara Satin.

  • Asking Questions: The first question to ask about someone else’s gender is: “Do I really need to know?” In most situations, it is not necessary to know anything about a person’s gender in order to include and welcome them. If you decide that you do need to understand more about someone else’s gender, appropriate and respectful questions include: “What pronoun do you prefer?” It is inappropriate to ask about transgender people’s bodies or medical history.
  • Education: Use books and curriculum to guide discussion or convene a panel discussion or other event to offer information and open up dialogue. Include gender concerns in adult education and review what kinds of messages are being communicated in children's programming. You can also advertise, host, or promote transgender-related programming led by other organizations.
  • Facilities: Create a non-gender-specific restroom that is available to everyone. If you already have a single-stall restroom in your building, this can be easily accomplished by covering the “Men” or “Women” sign with an “All-Gender Restroom” sign.
  • Language: In newsletters, event announcements, sermons etc., instead of saying “this event welcomes men and women,” try “all genders welcome”; rather than talking about “both men and women,” try “people of all genders.” Saying that your community welcomes “everyone” is not enough. Research shows that transgender, as well as gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, often assume the word “everyone” does not include them.
  • Policies: Include “gender identity” and “gender expression” in your nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies. Be sure your by-laws are trans-inclusive and don’t limit individuals involvement because of gender restrictive language. Review health insurance policies for transgender exclusions. Be prepared with good policies for how you will handle gender transitions, whether among staff, members, or others.
  • Outreach: Create an outreach plan that includes the changes your community is making. Remember that the world at large is not very welcoming to transgender people. Therefore, trans people often assume that they are not welcome or included in your community, unless it is stated otherwise.
  • Political and Social Action: Include transgender and gender diversity issues as part of your community’s social action work. Support transgender community services and advocacy organizations. Common local issues include legislation around hate crimes, name changes, changing gender markers on legal documents, anti-discrimination policies (e.g. housing and employment).
  • Rituals: Be prepared to incorporate or develop new rituals or adapt existing ones in order to be trans-inclusive. How trans-inclusive are key community events like weddings, funerals, and other lifecycle events? Are you prepared to honor the unique life transitions of transgender people?

More About Being an Ally

Check our main ally support page for more resources and practical tips.


 
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