About

barb and sean

Our Mission

TRUUsT advocates for the gifts, safety, liberation, and leadership of trans religious professionals in Unitarian Universalist ministries and institutions.

Our work to counter oppression includes but is not limited to dismantling racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, colonialism, and sizeism.

Our Vision

Born out of commitment to the gifts, safety, liberation, and leadership of transgender people, TRUUsT envisions a spiritual awakening that transforms Unitarian Universalism through worship, pastoral care, theology, education, and community to the end that trans religious professionals and their ministries are thriving, and a new culture of solidarity and common purpose among Unitarian Universalists committed to countering intersecting oppressions is flourishing.

Our History

TRUUsT was founded by Mr. Barb Greve and Rev. Sean Parker Dennison in 2004, after several years of conversation, to support and advocate for trans UU religious educators and ministers, with the hope of one day expanding into an organization for all trans Unitarian Universalists.

TRUUsT has provided trainings in transgender identity to the denomination’s credentialing bodies, assisted in the settlement of trans religious educators and ministers in UU congregations, and worked with the Unitarian Universalist Association in improving trans-related health insurance coverage and introducing gender neutral bathrooms at its annual General Assembly. It has also sponsored informal gatherings of trans religious professionals at UU conferences, culminating in the first-ever retreat for UU trans religious professionals in April 2016.

Our Leadership

TRUUsT is led by a Steering Committee of four trans religious professionals and four cisgender allies. Our current Steering Committee is:

Rev. Sean Parker Dennison, seanden@gmail.com
Rev. Anya Johnston, anya.johnston@me.com
Rev. Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe, sunshine.wolfe@gmail.com
Zr. Alex Kapitan, alexleekapitan@gmail.com

Our Membership

Membership in TRUUsT is open to all trans Unitarian Universalists who are living out a call to ministry within Unitarian Universalism.

We are are trans: we are transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid, non-binary, two spirit, intersex, agender, bigender, third gender, neutrois, transsexual, and/or otherwise marginalized in terms of gender identity.

We are leaders who are living out a call to ministry within Unitarian Universalism: we are ordained and lay ministers, credentialed and non-credentialed religious educators, directors of music and church administrators, seminarians and chaplains, and more. What makes us leaders is our calling, not our credentials.

We are in covenant: we are accountable to one another and have made affirmations and commitments to each other via our TRUUsT covenant.

Not all TRUUsT members are fully “out” about our identity or practice full disclosure regarding our gender history. There are two levels of TRUUsT membership: A confidential mailing list for people who prefer to remain anonymous even to other trans UU leaders, and a slightly more public membership connected via Facebook group and an annual retreat.

Our Covenant

We, the membership of Transgender Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together, covenant to:

  • affirm the diversity of gender identity and experience. We will model an expansive understanding of trans community as one that includes people who are transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid, non-binary, two spirit, intersex, agender, bigender, third gender, neutrois, transsexual, or otherwise marginalized in terms of gender identity.
  • affirm the diversity of disclosure and “outness” with respect to gender identity and experience, and practice the utmost confidentiality with one another’s identities and histories. We will make no assumptions about the level to which other TRUUsT members are “out” about their gender identity or the degree to which they disclose their gender history to others.
  • affirm the diversity of leadership and ministry that exists among us. We acknowledge that the systems that bestow authority within dominant culture do not recognize the full spectrum of what leadership means within marginalized communities. We are leaders who understand ourselves as living out a calling to ministry within Unitarian Universalism; we are ordained and lay ministers, credentialed and non-credentialed religious educators, directors of music and church administrators, seminarians and chaplains, and more. What makes us leaders is our calling, not our credentials.
  • affirm the diversity of spiritual practice and theological understanding among us. We identify as Unitarian Universalists and recognize each individual understanding of UUism as unique and sacred.
  • affirm intersections of identity and act in solidarity across lines of race, ethnicity, class, dis/ability, age, sexuality, and other identities, cultures, and experiences. We will partner with other identity-based UU organizations and work to dismantle oppression in all its forms within ourselves, our community, and the larger UU denomination.
  • practice communal care. We will stay in relationship, reach out and support each other, deepen trust, take care of ourselves and each other, ask for help when help is needed, communicate our limits as we are aware and able, be truthful and compassionate with ourselves and each other, work through conflict with love and humility, and support each other in our spiritual practices.
  • practice care toward the wider UU community. We will seek always to center our personal faith and the vision of Unitarian Universalism as it may be—not as it is—and work from a place of faith toward that vision. We will treat ourselves and others with care and compassion when harm or hurt occurs.
  • maintain unity as a community of trans UU leaders. We will invest the TRUUsT Steering Committee with the ability to speak for and work on behalf of TRUUsT as a whole, and we will back each other up in public and remain alert to the workings of transphobia in the UU denomination and in ourselves.
  • affirm that each of us brings vital energy and ability to the work of TRUUsT. We will bring forward our gifts, ideas, and passions in service of the TRUUsT community and in collaboration with other TRUUsT members, knowing that we are stronger together. The loss or diminishment of any of us diminishes what we can accomplish together.
  • hold each other accountable to the affirmations and commitments within this covenant, knowing that those on the Steering Committee will take on extra responsibility to protect this covenant and the TRUUsT community.
Photo above: Rev. Sean Parker Dennison and Mr. Barb Greve, founders of TRUUsT. Photo by Rev. Meghan Cefalu.