United Church of Christ Transgender Timeline

As we launched the Trans Still Speaking initiative in 2017, I compiled a timeline of transgender history in the United Church of Christ. It was initially published on Transfaith’s website. Today, I’ve moved it over to my blog at otherwisechristian.com and updated it with a few new details.I look forward to continuing to expand this resource with more details, past, present, and future. What do you notice that needs to be added?

I would also love to find collaborators who might help me create similar resources for other denominations and movements, as a historical record. Please be in touch!

1957

United Church of Christ founded by unification of predecessor denominations

1972

Bill Johnson ordination

Formation of UCC Gay Caucus

1979

UCC Gay Caucus name change to UCC Coalition for Gay Concerns (aka “The Coalition”)

1981

“The Coalition” name change to UCC Coalition for Lesbian/Gay Concerns

1985

UCC General Synod Open and Affirming Declaration

“The Coalition” immediately takes on administration of the Open and Affirming program in the absence of any denominational office with that responsibility

1990

United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, Division of the American Missionary Association establishes first national staff position attending to LGBT concerns

1997

“The Coalition” name change to UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns

1998

Barbara Satin (Spirit of the Lakes UCC, Minneapolis, MN) makes first presentation on transgender experience to The Coalition’s National Gathering (Chicago, IL).

1999

Initial Transfaith Online website founded by Chris Paige (Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, PA)

Barbara Satin (Spirit of the Lakes UCC, Minneapolis, MN) is first openly transgender person elected to the Coalition’s board of directors.

Monica Helms (Pilgrimage UCC, Marietta, GA) designs what becomes widely known as the transgender flag.

2000

Reorganization of UCC National Setting establishes Office of Health and Wholeness Advocacy as a part of Wider Church Ministries, including emphasis on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Ministries

2001

Cleveland convening

Transcendence Gospel Choir founded (City of Refuge UCC, San Francisco, CA)

Pilgrim Press publishes Omnigender: A Trans-religious Approach by Virginia Mollenkott

Pilgrim Press publishes Crossing Over: Liberating the Transgendered Christian by Vanessa Sheridan

2002

Barbara Satin (Spirit of the Lakes UCC, Minneapolis, MN) is the first openly transgender person elected Moderator of the Coalition’s board of directors (serving until 2006).

Barbara Satin (Spirit of the Lakes UCC, Minneapolis, MN) elected to replace out-going Coalition representative to the UCC Executive Council, making her the first openly transgender member of the UCC Executive Coalition (serving until 2009).

Despite being UCC national staff, Pat Conover’s Transgender Good News is self-published

2003

UCC statement on transgender inclusion (General Synod 2003, Minneapolis, MN)

Pilgrim Press published Transgender Journeys by Virginia Mollenkott and Vanessa Sheridan

Pilgrim Press published Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith by Justin Tanis

Transcendence Gospel Choir (City of Refuge UCC, San Francisco, CA) releases music CD, Whosoever Believes

2005

Call Me Malcolm movie released by the United Church of Christ Office of Health and Wholeness

Barbara Satin (Spirit of the Lakes UCC, Minneapolis, MN) hired to national, ecumenical role by the Institute for Welcoming Resources (later acquired by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force). Over many years, her titles have included: Interim Director, Faith Work Associate, and Assistant Faith Work Director.

2006

The Believers movie released, profiling the Transcendence Gospel Choir (City of Refuge UCC, San Francisco, CA)

2009

TransSaints ministry of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries founded

Dr Becky Allison (Shadow Rock UCC, Phoenix, AZ) elected president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association

transACTION curriculum by Barbara Satin (Spirit of the Lakes UCC, Minneapolis, MN) published by the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force

Publication of Transgender Explained For Those Who Are Not by Joanne Herman (Old South Church in Boston, Boston, MA)

Spirituality programming track at Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference co-founded by Chris Paige (Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, PA)

2010

Gender identity/expression begins being required in new Open and Affirming statements

UCC GenderFold Action Alliance founded

2011

Chris Paige (Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, PA) chairs the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference

2012

Chris Paige (Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, PA) and Louis Mitchell co-found Transfaith (as an organization)

Louis Mitchell keynotes the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference

UCC Office for Health and Wholeness sponsors production of Tara’s Crossing at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference

Lawrence Tanner Richardson becomes the first Black, openly transgender person in the United Church of Christ, when he gains clergy standing by transfer of credentials.

2014

UCC GenderFold Action Alliance retired

“The Coalition” name change to UCC Open and Affirming Coalition

2015

UCC Pension Board removes “transgender exclusion” from the UCC health insurance policies

2016

Pilgrim Press published The Bible and the Transgender Experience: How Scripture Supports Gender Variance by Linda Hertzer

Liam Hooper is ordained as the first openly transgender candidate in the Southern Conference of the UCC.

Rev Liam Hooper (Parkway UCC, Winston-Salem, NC) hired as transgender organizer for the Reconciling Ministries Network.

Kimble Sorrells (Central Congregational UCC, Atlanta, GA) hired as Georgia field organizer for the Reconciling Ministries Network.

2017

Trans Still Speaking initiative begins

Reconciling Ministries Network launches Trans-forming the Church: Blessed Bodies and Gender Justice featuring the Rev Liam Hooper (Parkway UCC, Winston-Salem, NC)

2019

Mx Chris Paige publishes OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation and launches OtherWise Engaged Publishing.


Sources include: UCC Social Policy Statements on LGBT Concerns, UCC LGBT History Timeline, Coalition statement, Barbara Satin oral history, Bill Johnson biography, various personal correspondence.

Collected from the Transfaith website and updated by Mx. Chris Paige on September 9, 2019.

Note: This blog is intended to be an on-going work in progress. Please contact us if you have additions, corrections, or concerns.

2 thoughts on “United Church of Christ Transgender Timeline

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