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The Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ denounces legislation against people who are transgender.
Today, Friday, April 8, 2022, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law bills from both the state’s Senate and House that were passed in late sessions the day before. The Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 184, which bans gender-affirming care for minors. The bill threatens that anyone providing such care, including doctors and healthcare providers, to anyone under 18 years old could face felony charges, fines, and imprisonment. Parents and legal guardians supporting gender-affirming care for their children also face such threats. Additionally, the bill requires school counselors, nurses, and other professionals to report to parents if a child discloses that they believe they may be transgender.
The Alabama House of Representatives also passed HB 322 in a last-minute session on Thursday. That bill requires K-12 students to use gender-specific bathrooms and school facilities consistent with the gender assigned at birth, regardless of gender identity and/or expression. It also limits LGBTQ content in K-5th grade classrooms. Both HB 322 and SB 184 have now been signed into law by Ivey and are currently due to be enacted in 30 days.
Legislation that targets our children and youth who are transgender or nonbinary is harmful and reprehensible. It limits their access to healthcare, erodes their well-being, and attacks their very existence. In short, it denies them their rights as beloved children created by God and attempts to dehumanize them instead of recognizing them as beautiful expressions of God’s own image.
The Southeast Conference stands with and stands up for our transgender and non-binary siblings, as well as their families and beloved and the healthcare professionals who provide care for them. We acknowledge that when they are excluded and marginalized, humanity is fractured. When they suffer indignity, neglect, and injustice, the fabric of our society is torn. When they experience abuse and harm, God calls us to protect, nurture, and heal their wounds. We concur and stand in solidarity with the National Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the United Church of Christ Open and Affirming Coalition in their statement opposing the anti-transgender legislation from Alabama and other states (see statement at https://www.ucc.org/ucc-ministries-alabama-anti-trans-legislation-outrageous/). We call upon all people to respond with urgency to speak up on behalf of these and all our children who are ostracized and disregarded in any way, and to live out Christ’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Rev. Kimberly Wood (she/her/hers)
R. Ugena Whitlock, Ph.D.
Conference Moderator and Board of Directors Chairperson