Gay For Good – Board Development
Gay For Good (G4G) is the nation’s leading LGBTQ volunteer service organization, mobilizing thousands of volunteers annually, to enhance LGBTQ visibility, cultivate understanding and build positive relationships between diverse groups of people, while helping the environment, animals and people in need. Gay For Good volunteers have logged thousands of hours with our sixteeen chapters throughout the USA and are steadily growing to become leaders in social impact.
Since 2018, the all-volunteer Gay For Good board has hired the organization’s first full-time employee, added five new board members, and grown the organization by adding six new chapters. Each summer the board meets for a retreat. This year, with COVID-19 travel restrictions, we are forgoing our in-person retreat. Instead we will dedicate time to further our own understanding of non-profit leadership with the assistance of a governance coach. We are in final stages of selecting from three very strong proposals, and this Faithify campaign will fund that training plus ongoing follow up.
So why does this matter? Why is this important?
While our nation is often celebrated as a cultural melting pot, made up of citizens from a variety of backgrounds, races, sexual orientations and beliefs, those differences can also be its greatest challenge to overcome. Many neighborhoods are formed by people of a shared familiarity: cultural identity, religious alignment, economic status or political viewpoints. These neighborhoods exist both geographically and virtually (online), where many people primarily interact with only those who share similar history and beliefs. Fear of those who are different is exacerbated by these divisions, leading to isolated groups of people living in proximity to each other geographically but miles apart in their understanding of their neighbors. Those who perceive themselves to be an “other” within these silos can feel isolated and may struggle to find a sense of belonging in their own backyard.
Gay For Good brings people together. Through interaction and shared goals, people of different backgrounds can foster new relationships with each other and discover through their shared experiences that they have more in common than they knew.
As an incredible byproduct of our work, our volunteers have found community within our community. Often, volunteers lack family support and turn to the LGBTQ community to fill the void left by family rejection. Some face increased challenges connecting with like minds where marketing and traditional business models favor more lucrative social interactions like night clubs and parties. Gay For Good offers an alternative way for people to connect and our members have forged family-tight bonds.
What are the connections between Gay For Good and Unitarian Universalism?
When our board recently revised our non-discrimination policy, we used the policy on the UUA website as a guide to be sure that we created a policy that was as inclusive as possible. Our Boston chapter has a long-standing partnership with Arlington Street Church, which has given grants as part of their support of community programs and also provided space for our volunteer projects. Our current national board chair, Art Nava, has been a member of Arlington Street Church since 2004 and also serves as a lay leader at the regional and associational level. His leadership has been shaped by his Unitarian Universalism, and he brings his experience from UU settings to his work with our organization.
Photos: Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie and members of the Arlington Street Church worship team help build wagons at an annual Gay For Good project in Boston that has provided over 600 wagons to partner organization Toys4Joys.
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Scholarships for Gender-FUUL retreat for Non-Binary/Transgender/Agender participants at UBarU
The Genderfuul retreat is an affirming retreat where trans, non-binary & agender UUs can build community with each other. From nature walks to spiritual discussions and crafts, we hope that each person is able to relax and connect with the sacredness of being genderful. Our chaplain understands trans and non-binary issues and speaks inclusively (i.e. doesn’t use phrases like “men and women of the church” or “brothers and sisters” as if they include everyone). Our chaplain will foster an environment where everyone is encouraged to acknowledge and value the wide variety of identities, experiences, feelings, vocabulary and traumas that come with existing in an often oppressively gendered world.
Our gendered world is discriminatory against those who identify as transgender, agender and non-binary. The discrimination can manifest in many ways and can lead to financial challenges. With this campaign, we hope to provide financial support for those who need help to come to camp for this GenderfUUl retreat.
Any additional funds will go to our Youth camp scholarships.
Thank you for your support!
Help Lift Up...
UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA)
In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising (June 28, 1969), the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA) has launched a UU Rainbow History Project, focused on collecting and preserving the history and stories of LGBTQIA ministers, their partners, and allies.
Many of us have witnessed an amazing cultural shift over the past 50 years toward ever greater acceptance, inclusion, and celebration of LGBTQIA folk in our UU faith communities. Ministers have often led the way, and sometimes paid a harsh price for being in this vanguard. The stories are rich, stirring—and important.
But time is not an ally in this process, so we want to move quickly to document the remarkable transformation of the UUA into a welcoming and affirming faith for people of all relationship choices and gender expressions. We are reaching out to draw forth memories from folks who remember the times and have valuable perspective on this evolution. Stonewall inspires anew, here among us today, exactly 50 years later!
The UU Rainbow History Project has begun gathering memories, photographs, sermons and other memorabilia on a website (www.uurainbowhistory.net) and in social media. Soon we will be working on producing a book to document this significant turning point in UU history. And all materials will be placed in UU archives, so future generations can learn about this incredible story, hopefully from many firsthand testimonials.
We are also sponsoring two conferences during this 50th anniversary year and if the October event is anything like the one last February (see pix below), it will again be powerfully meaningful. One attendee at the first conference remarked afterward, “This was a wonderful perspective on LGBTQ history—a breathtaking journey—and very uplifting. We have come so far. And I am so proud of the pioneers who lived in the disdain of society and bore such a burden.”
All this productive activity has a price tag, though, especially the technical developments and support for attendance at our conferences. And UURMaPA (which exists entirely on donations) has limited funding. The UU Funding Program has gotten us started, but through this Faithify Campaign YOU can help ensure that what we discern and discover about this pivotal era can become part of an enduring UU Rainbow History Project. Many thanks for your support!
2019 Building Beloved Community Beyond the Binary
Help us put love into action.
As a congregation it is our hope that this one-day conference will be both a place where trans and gender non-conforming folk can gather, connect and learn and where cisgender folk can learn about being better allies. We are also hoping that by hosting this conference we will make a BOLD statement to our larger community that we are a safe and welcoming community because we really do want to build beloved community beyond the binary.
By doing this fundraising, we are able to offer a nationally known keynote speaker and excellent workshops at a sliding scale ticket price that is accessible to all. Your contribution will also allow us to provide FREE tickets to youth and FREE childcare to those who need it.
Exciting and NEW THIS YEAR, we are working on creating a “toolbox” that will be available to other UU congregations so that they too can host a successful Building Beloved Community Beyond the Binary conference of their own. Your support will help to spread our UU welcome throughout our Association.
Our keynote speaker is J Mase III, who is a Black/trans/queer poet & educator based in Seattle by way of Philly. As an educator, Mase has worked with community members in the US, UK, and Canada on LGBTQIA+ rights and racial justice in spaces such as K-12 schools, universities, faith communities and restricted care facilities. He is founder of awQward, the first trans and queer people of color talent agency.
His work has been featured on MSNBC, Essence Live, Everyday Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous, the New York Times, Buzzfeed, the Root, theGrio, Teen Vogue and more.
His current projects include being the head writer of the theatrical production, Black Bois and being co-editor of the #BlackTransPrayerBook.
Find him on Instagram (@jmaseiii) and www.jmaseiii.com!
J Mase will also be offering two workshops, in addition to the keynote – On Faith and the Criminalization of the Black Trans Body, Write Me Where It Hurts
While workshops are being finalized, here are some topics we are planning to offer:
De-escalation and micro-aggressions
Parenting trans kids
How to make your classroom trans friendly and inclusive
On Faith and the Criminalization of the Black Trans Body
Write Me Where It Hurts
Preemptive Radical Hospitality
How to be a trans ally activist
Health issues and transitioning
This year we have a grant from the UU Funding Program – Yay! Reaching our Faithify goal will allow to also access a challenge grant of 1500.00. Please donate.
If you would like to register for the event click here