by Russ Araujo.
In 2002, Heritage UU Church formed a Welcoming Congregation Committee to help move the church and society forward toward being more welcoming of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.
In 2003, the Committee published the results of an anonymous survey it had done of the congregation. The survey, which focused on attitudes, also had a demographics section. For sexual orientation, the number of people answering with each answer was: Heterosexual=77; Homosexual=4; Bisexual=1; and Not Stated=4. As far as whether a person identified themselves as transgender: Yes=1; No=80; No Answer=5.
Although the survey indicated that at least 5, probably 6, and perhaps as many as 15 people might be in the LGBT population, the church at the time had only one member who was “out.”
As far as society at large goes, in 2003 same-sex marriage was not legal anywhere in the U.S., and many people had not heard the word “transgender.”
In 2004, Heritage Church voted in the annual congregational meeting to seek recognition as a Welcoming Congregation from the Unitarian Universalist Association. The church did receive recognition from the UUA later that year.
It is now twelve years after the survey. The church membership–and leadership–includes a number of people who are LGBT and who are out. In society at large, same-sex couples throughout the U.S. now have the legal right to marry, and the news has made the populace much more informed regarding people who are transgender.
There is still much work to be done regarding equality of employment, housing, and in other areas. Nevertheless, a great deal of progress has been made.