Good Person with Much to Learn

Good Person with Much to Learn

“I invite you to hold a brave space for yourself where you can simultaneously hear that you are a good person and that you still have much to learn and that this article caused me harm. All three of those things can be true at one time, and it is our responsibility when we are people who bear privilege to manage the discomfort that comes with our shortfalls.”
— CB Beal, in Centering the Marginalized: symphony and triptych

May I always be a good person who acknowledges that there is much still to learn, who manages the discomfort that comes with my shortfalls, and who holds brave space.

That’s one of my more personal take-aways from this week’s turmoil among Unitarian Universalists around the country (and the world) in response to an essay published in UU World that caused real harm, most especially to persons who are transgender / non-binary / genderqueer.

CB Beal’s thoughtful and thorough explanation of the essay’s harm has been especially helpful to me, and I owe a debt of gratitude for their willingness to be a teacher for folks who need it.

You see, despite my effort and intention to center the perspectives of those who are marginalized, and not to objectify any person, I know I wouldn’t have identified (or felt) the intense negative impact of the essay if it hadn’t been named by someone else. I am continually tuning my sensors, and I hope next time to be more independently sensitive to occurrences of marginalization and silencing. (Yes, I know there will be a next time.)

I am a reasonably good person. I have a lot to learn.

Publishing the article was a mistake. The editor of the magazine has admitted it was a mistake and apologized. It was not my mistake, but I am intensely aware that it could have been, and that’s a sobering insight.

I am a reasonably good person. I have a lot to learn.

Meanwhile, I join the many others who are trying to amplify the voices that need to be heard if we’re going to be talking about our evolving understanding of gender and the experiences of transgender / non-binary / genderqueer persons in our UU movement—voices like CB Beal’s and those of TRUUsT—Transgender Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together, including their statement, Putting the “T” First: Public Statement on This Week’s UU World Article. We even have local blogger Suzi Chase in our midst, who writes on transgender and other topics.

I am a reasonably good person. I have a lot to learn. I bet you are—and do—too.

In solidarity,
Paige

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