A Person’s Pain is Not Your Lesson

Marchaé Grair

There was a very harmful essay published in the spring issue of UU World that was transantagonistic (trying to move away from ‘phobia’ language) and also had a heterosexist slur. While I was not involved in the decision to publish the essay and did not see it before it’s publication, I am still sorry for the pain it is causing.

As this week ends, I just want all of the trans and nonbinary folx in my life to know I love you and have your back. This includes my trans and nonbinary colleagues at the UUA and the trans and nonbinary Unitarian Universalists impacted by this essay. I will show up for you in the ways that you tell me and I will not ignore the hurt you experience(d).

Hurting people as a means to an end of learning a lesson about inclusivity should not be a norm, and it pains me to see that as one of the responses emerging to this incident. I have seen multiple comments that this essay and the responses have taught cis people more than an article that centered trans folx would have taught them.

No. Stop that.

People do not have to be hurt to teach you lessons. Embracing the presence, lessons and wisdom sharing of trans and nonbinary folx should regularly happen in the absence of a crisis. Amplifying the margins should be relational and not transactional.

It is exhausting for people to cut you and then ask you to teach them lessons as you bleed. It is exhausting to only be given a seat at the table when the table has fallen apart and the people who broke it need help putting it back together.


I want to amplify some of the responses to the article from nonbinary and trans folx who are not only processing the harm they experienced but also doing emotional labor to educate people about the harm done. We (cis folx) do not deserve this, but I am grateful for it.

Centering the Marginalized: symphony and triptych (by CB Beal): https://bit.ly/2tVqurJ

Putting the “T” First: Public Statement on This Week’s UU World Article (a public statement from Trans Religious professional Unitarian Universalists Together): https://bit.ly/2ST3mEy

A Facebook response from Alex Kapitan who advised against publishing the essay: https://bit.ly/2tYrLyw

Marchaé Grair

Written by

An enemy of bigotry and lover of all things Beyoncé. Writing about pop culture and social (in)justices with an intersectional lens. Find me— >Marchae.com.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade