"Celebrating Pride with Unity" by Jennifer Lambert, Board of Trustees

You may know me as your Board Member or your prayer chaplain, but do you know me as a Transgender Woman? Hello, my name is Jennifer Lambert and it is my honor and pleasure to come out to you today during Pride month. Being my authentic self and being transparent and truthful is who I am and is how I want to perform in any leadership role I take on. Being visible is really the only way to break down stereotypes and mis-information.

Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity or expression is different from their sex at birth. It refers to one’s internal understanding of one’s own gender, or the gender with which one identifies. Transgender people might be Gay, Straight, or Asexual just like non-Transgender people can be.

We don’t know for certain why someone is Transgender, but scientists and researchers are now finding differences in brain structure, genetics and even prenatal exposure to certain hormones may be the cause.

In many ways the Transgender community is where the Gay community was 20 years ago.

What I do know is I have found in Unity a Spiritual Community that preaches and practices inclusion, love, and acceptance for all people and isn’t that a basic need for us all. Sadly, that is missing in so many church communities across America.

Unity’s commitment to serve scores of marginalized populations including LGBTQ, Black, Hispanic, and Differently Abled and provide resources that help us figure out what it means to be an outward expression of the divine in a benevolent universe that was designed to support us, is life affirming and in many cases lifesaving. Unity’s LGBTQ Online Spiritual Resource Center is helpful and available to all, providing, videos, printed materials and other resources to help educate and break down stereotypes and provide us a venue to tell our stories.

Those of us who had an experience in marginalized communities (almost all Transgender people) have a backstory. A backstory many times, if not most times filled with fear, heartache, and eventually courage, and determination. Many of us have had to find ways to love ourselves when no one else would.

Sadly some don’t make it.

There’s still a lot of pain and heartache in the Transgender community. Problems of employment, housing, dating and finding life partners. Problems of being kicked out of familial homes and being forced to live in the street as a teen. Problems of bullying in schools and the prejudice and humiliation by elected officials. Problems with bathrooms and school boards and churches that won’t recognize or accept. Problems of being safe in public. Low income Black Transgender woman are finding it especially difficult. My commitment to live an authentic, meaningful life and be of service, is what keeps the divine alive in me. Next time someone asks you if you know a Transgender person, say yes, because you know me.

Love and blessings to you all.
Jennifer Lambert