Transgender Inclusion in Congregations

A 6-session online course

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This course is for individuals, groups, and congregational teams who want to take their knowledge and skills to the next level in terms of trans identity and how to create congregations that are fully inclusive and affirming of the full breadth of gender diversity.

Over six sessions you will deeply explore the intersection of trans identity, spirituality, and faith community, and gain the grounding, context, and skills to transform yourself and your congregation.

Who should take this course?

This course is designed for people and groups within generally LGBTQ-welcoming congregations. It was developed with Unitarian Universalists in mind, but it is applicable to other faith communities and contexts as well.

This course is for everyone from novices on trans identity to those with decades of life experience. Rather than simply offering a “trans 101,” this class pushes participants to the next level of congregational welcome, relationship-building, and skills-building. It counters mainstream narratives about who trans people are; supports understanding of non-binary identities (such as genderqueer, agender, and Two-Spirit); and employs a deeply intersectional approach. Congregational teams are particularly encouraged to participate.

How much does it cost?

The course costs $125 for individuals, or a sliding scale of $400-$800 for groups or congregations. We strongly encourage participation by congregational teams. If you purchase the course as a congregation, you'll receive a unique coupon code so that your entire congregation gets lifetime access the course.

Course details

The course is composed of six sessions, each of which includes a 45- to 55-minute lecture by Rev. Mykal Slack and Zr. Alex Kapitan, reflection questions, and resources that take the conversation deeper. The lectures are pre-recorded so that you can view them at any time that is convenient to you.

  • Session 1. Introduction to Beloved Community: Welcome as a Spiritual Practice
    In this session you'll get grounded in a Beloved Community approach to welcome, reflect on your personal experiences of inclusion vs. exclusion, and envision what practicing Beloved Community in a congregational setting looks like.
  • Session 2. Gender and Our Faith Community
    In this session you'll review the origins and impacts of gender binary roles and how they uphold patriarchy, explore gender roles and patriarchy within organized religion in historic and present-day contexts, and reflect on the faith grounding for how people of faith are called to dismantle gender-based oppression.
  • Session 3. Unpacking the Gender Binary
    In this session you'll learn about the different dimensions of gender (biology, expression, and identity), explore the incredible diversity of experience within these dimensions, and reflect on how your own experience of gender aligns or does not align with the gender binary.
  • Session 4. Trans Experience and Spirituality
    In this session you'll learn the risk factors involved in being transgender and the ways that race, class, age, ability, and more impact trans experience; learn about the role of spirituality in trans lives and the experiences of trans people in congregations; and explore the many spiritual gifts of trans people.
  • Session 5. The Role of Culture in Trans Exclusion
    In this session you'll gain an understanding of the iceberg model of culture, explore the characteristics of mainstream culture, and learn how cultural differences between trans culture and mainstream culture contribute to trans exclusion in congregations.
  • Session 6. Creating Culture Shift
    In this session you'll learn tools and practices for congregational culture shift, brainstorm next steps for creating trans-affirming culture shift in your congregation or faith group, and find out about additional resources that can support you in your next steps.

More about the course

Watch our video to hear course leaders Rev. Mykal Slack and Zr. Alex Kapitan share more about the course, why and how it came to be, what to expect from taking it, who the course is for, and how it works when a congregation purchases it:

Those who are interested in purchasing the course for a congregation may also find our guidance for facilitators page helpful.

Have questions? See below for answers to frequently asked questions. Have more questions? Contact us!

Your Instructor

Rev. Mykal Slack & Zr. Alex Kapitan
Rev. Mykal Slack & Zr. Alex Kapitan

Mykal and Alex are co-leaders of the Transforming Hearts Collective and have years of experience helping congregations and other faith groups develop anti-oppressive frameworks for church life, fully affirm and celebrate people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and foster community life practices that embody radical welcome and connection. Read full bios.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
There’s no start or end date! This course is self-led. The lectures are pre-recorded, so you can watch them any time that’s convenient for you, by yourself or in a group. Even better, if you purchase the course as a congregation, your congregation gets lifetime access to it, meaning additional groups or individuals from the congregation can take the course at any time without having to pay an additional fee.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you'll have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like, across any and all devices you own. And once you finish the course you'll maintain access to it, including all of the included resources.
My congregation wants to sign up. If we buy the course, how will everyone access it?
When one person buys the course on behalf of a congregation or other group, we send that person a unique code that they can share with everyone else in the congregation/group, so that each congregation/group member can access the course and create their own user account.
I’m buying the course on behalf of my church. Should I use my own email address to sign up, or the church’s?
When you purchase the course on behalf of a congregation or other group, use your own personal information to create your own user account. We’ll send you a code so that everyone else in your congregation or group can do this too.
I’m part of a different sort of group (state advocacy network, regional presidents’ council, cluster leadership team, etc.)—can my group take the course?
Definitely! You’re welcome to go ahead and purchase the course on behalf of any faith group. We encourage you to contact us to discuss the particularities of your situation and how to best make the course work for your group.
What’s the best way to run the course in a congregation?
It depends on the congregation and what works best in your context. One of the benefits of this course is that individuals can watch the lectures and read the resources on their own and then meet up with others for discussion and group reflection, or a group can watch the lectures together and then discuss them. We encourage congregations to run the course in different ways at different times and intentionally engage different people and groups, including leaders. Check out our guidance for facilitators for more ideas and best practices, and feel free to contact us to chat about what might work best in your context.
Can I buy the course at the individual rate and then screen the lectures for a group from my account?
No. The individual rate is for individual use only. Only those who enroll under a group rate may screen the lectures for a group. If you'd like to take the course with an informal group of friends, do a public screening of it, don't think your congregation can afford even the low end of the sliding scale, or have some other particular need, please contact us and we can chat about how to make it work.
Is it possible to preview the course to explore whether it's a good fit for my congregation?
Yes. If you purchase the course as an individual, you can preview it for 30 days. If within that time you decide it's not a good fit for your congregation, you can get a full refund, no questions asked. If you decide to move forward, we can deduct $125 from the price your congregation pays.
Is it possible to pay by check rather than credit card?
Yes! You are welcome to pay by check if that's easier for you. Please contact us for instructions on how to do so.
My congregation purchased the course a while ago and our coupon code has stopped working. What should we do?
Email us at [email protected] and we can reset your coupon code!

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