I was at a dinner last week with a woman who works at 3M. She told me that they had now been requested, in their email signatures, to include their pronouns.
What that means, if it’s not a familiar concept to you, is that people who identify as female write she/her/hers under their names. People who identify as male write he/him/his. People who use other pronouns might write they/theirs if they use singular they pronouns, or any number of pronouns which have been invented to convey that neither he nor she is a good fit: zi/ si/ ey/ ve/tey / xi and so many others. This tells the rest of the 3M community how each person would like to be addressed.
If this is a new concept to you, here is a webpage that begins to explain gender pronouns:
There is most definitely a gender revolution going on. It’s even hit 3M! Those of us who are older may have trouble feeling that we can keep up with it all. This Sunday, we’ll be exploring what that means for all of us, and featuring the voices (in music and word) of people who have lived outside of the “cisgender” identity. (Cisgender refers to those of us who identify with the gender we were assigned at birth. For us, especially, this may mean that we have never given much thought to expanding concepts of gender.) This is part of our theme of integrity, as we explore what it means to have integrity in our genders.
I am cisgender, but when I came out as a lesbian in the late 1970s, sexual identity was thought of as largely irrelevant and inappropriate for discussion. I remember when I was a college student, I cleaned houses for a living. When I told one of my clients that I had grown up Unitarian Universalist, she laughed and said, “I just saw on the sign at the UU church downtown that they are having a homosexual speak this weekend. And I thought, who but the Unitarians would care about THAT!?” At that moment, I hadn’t yet realized I was gay myself. But I wish I had gone to that service, because I would have heard Rev. Jim Stoll, the first UU minister who dared to come out publicly, give the sermon. And it might have been helpful when I did come out.
Unitarian Universalism has a long and proud history of welcoming gay and lesbian people. We are still, honestly, working to include bisexual people as fully as we might. And as for fully welcoming transgender people, though we are certainly ahead of many other denominations, we have a long way to go. I’m delighted that there is group called TRUUST, Transgender UUs Together, which serves as a gathering place for folx.
I’m proud that one of the UUA’s moderators for the national body is trans. And I’m excited about how UUCM might get more engaged. In the short time I’ve been in the congregation, I’ve been delighted to meet trans and gender nonconforming people of all ages, and I know that there are many who have not shared their stories with me.
I look forward to hearing more stories as we deepen into this topic. See you Sunday!