To the Editor:

As members of a faith community, we want to express support for the LGBTQ community in our area, particularly within the school system. We support the school Board’s proposed policy to respect the choices of students who request confidentiality with regard to their gender identification.

At the public forum, we heard voices who tried to tie religion to opposition to this policy. We believe it is important for LGBTQ students and their families to be aware that many religious people and many organized religions support equal rights for transgender people and welcome and celebrate their participation in all aspects of community life. All students deserve support, compassion, and encouragement and that includes transgender students, who often have the additional burden of rejection and hostility, even within their own families. Protecting their safety and privacy is a crucial step in supporting LGBTQ people, especially youth, in their efforts to define themselves in a culture which can be harsh and unaccepting.

While individual congregations may vary in their responses, we would remind the School Board and the community that national organizations of Unitarian-Universalists, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church of America, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian Church (USA), Alliance of Baptists, Reform and Conservative Judaism, and many other religious bodies have made declarations of welcome and inclusion of LGBTQ people. While some religions may differ on this issue, there are no absolute religious reasons for denying full rights to transgender students. This includes a right to safety and freedom from harassment, even when the threat comes from within their closest circles.

Dealing with societal changes may be hard for everyone…for schools, families, and institutions. We, and many people who are affiliated with organized religions, believe that all LBGTQ people are equally whole, sacred, and worthy of the care and protections that allow them to become who they were meant to be.

Rev. Fayre Stephenson
Deborah Crump
Claire Gelinas
Joan Beal
Ellen Gibson
Sally Bradley
Terry Robinson
Joanne McDonald
Halina Harding
Ginny Lofman
David Drago
A. L. Bell
L. Skyler Gray
Betsy Morris
Kerry Reed
 Dorothy Raymond
Harold  F. Buote, Jr.
Jan M Cardoza
Patricia A. Shearman
Sallie Crittendon
Heather Bell
Philip A Cosman
Beth Bongiolatti Gray
Susan Denison


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