TTPC Supports GLBT Friendly Knoxville Church

The Board and members of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition wish to express our support for the victims of the tragic shooting yesterday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) in Knoxville. 

The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church is the home for several GLBT groups including the Knoxville Monday Gay Men's Group, the Spectrum Divers iTea Café GLBT youth support group, and  the Knoxville chapter of P-FLAG.  According to one private report received by TTPC, one of the victims was the foster parent of a transgender girl.   Among those who were present in the church at the time of the shooting were two members of TTPC, our website manager and her partner.  We are thankful that the two of them were both unharmed. 

Nationally, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations has several openly transgender ministers and has long included gender identity in its mission statement and non-discrimination policy.  Across the nation, many transgender support groups meet in UU Churchs. In 2005, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations was one of over 30 organizations that signed a joint letter to Congress urging adoption of the Hate Crimes bill which included gender identity, and rejection of a separate Hate Crimes bill which did not in a show of support for all GLBT people.

At a recently concluded press conference, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen reported that the gunman left a four page letter with "stated hatred for the liberal movement," which included a dislike of the church's support for the GLBT community.  This crime is being investigated as a hate crime.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition wishes to extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.  

We have also included below a letter released by TVUUC inviting supporters to a special service this evening.  We encourage all who live in the Knoxville area to attend.

Marisa Richmond

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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