Category Archives: Allison Woolberts’ Transgender Advocacy History

Allison Woolbert – A Journey To Wholeness

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This is short video that was seen by tens of thousands of people over the years to show a different journey of Allison Woolbert’s extraordinary life.  It shows from the beginning to a little after my full transition.  Allison Woolbert greatly appreciates all those who were warm, generous and welcoming on her journey and taught her so very much.

 

 

 

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Article on Allison Woolbert by Mark Bernstein – Change: This Time It’s Personal

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Change: This Time It’s Personal

Change, as we all know, is synonymous with growth.  When we think about change in our congregations, we usually think in systemic terms.  A different way of conducting worship; renovations or additions to the building; a new way of governing the church.  Change, however, is also personal.  By living our UU principles, by gaining strength through our faith, we find the courage to change, to grow and to find our lives restored.

I met Allison Woolbert at the JPD District Assembly this March.  She was leading a workshop on transgendered persons, specifically herself.  I listened with fascination as Allison shared her inspirational life story of courage, love found and lost, and, finally, the realization that in order to live her life as her spirit required, she needed to change.  It was through the support of her fellow congregants at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore that Allison was able to find acceptance and the strength to continue the change in her life.  Of those congregants, Allison says “their warmth and commitment to truly living the (UU) Principles encouraged me more than anything into coming out as my true self.  One of the hardest things about ‘coming out’”, Allison Woolbert continues, “is the fear of persecution.  Through the great gift of love, UUCSJS has continued to help me live my life to the fullest.”

Charles DuBois wrote, “The important thing is this:  To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”  This is the power of Unitarian Universalism.  It gives us the strength to take risks; the inspiration to become greater than we are now.

The true value of our faith is realized through the stories of people like Allison and so many others who have found the courage to change.

Allison is available to speak to your congregation.  If you too want to be inspired, contact her at allison.woolbert@gmail.com or 609.662.1776.   You can also check out her web site: allisonwoolbert.wordpress.com.

By Mark Bernstein

 

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Allison Woolbert in Interweave World – Summer 2009

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Interweave World LogoInterweave of South Jersey – A New Chapter’s Beginnings by Allison Woolbert
As a newly formed chapter of Interweave, we have begun the journey of providing services to our local congregants as well as our immediate community. Interweave of South Jersey started having meetings in January of 2009. The initial meeting held 31 individuals from our congregation and community. We began by creating 5 small groups that would be our main focus for this year. The groups consisted of several “lenses” Communications, Education, Social Justice, Outreach and Support. Our mission was to provide the very best in support to all within our five county community.
We started by having educational seminars on gender and sexual orientation and have had a few events this year including a Karaoke night, games night, a pot luck dinner, movie night (normally with discussion group afterwards). We additionally started support groups for the Family Members of GLBT, as well as gay and transgenders within our community, which are non-confrontational and very welcomed by many members of our community.
By creating the outreach and communications committees we were able to publicize our groups widely throughout southern New Jersey. We have a growing membership of two to four new individuals a month showing up to our UU services due to our community outreach.
Our Board of Trustees is dedicated and appreciative of the efforts made by our local Interweave chapter and their support is unwavering. Without their overwhelming support, our efforts would have been seriously diminished.
Recently we organized a UU district-wide panel on Interweave that brought individuals together in our district to discuss what is going on with their current Interweave groups and what could be done to revitalize the district’s program. The panel brought out many excellent ideas and we had a great response from all who attended.
We also attended, as a sponsoring organization, the Philadelphia National Equality March on May 3rd which provided a national forum for the expression of Equal Rights for all GLBT members. We were quoted by the Associated Press concerning transgender medical rights which subsequently was published in hundreds of media outlets across the world.

Our group has solicited other groups within our region to join in our events which have led to building a coalition that has a much stronger voice and presence. Stockton College students attended the rally with us as well as another Interweave chapter from Bux-Mont UU in Pennsylvania. With one voice our coalition challenged the Christian hatemongers that were badgering the attendees and stood hand in hand in our support of each other and our GLBT sisters and brothers. We were very honored to be part of such a national effort and we are now beginning to coordinate further outreach with the organizations sponsoring the rally.
Our willingness to step out into the community as a strong advocate for GLBT has enabled us to grow our membership in our Unitarian congregation, and to also make a stand during such critical times in our country’s history.
Although we are a new chapter, there is no time like the present to make a difference in your congregation and community by stepping up and championing GLBT equality of and the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings.
If we can be of any assistance to your Interweave group, please contact us via our website, http://interweave.uucsjs.org, or email Allison Woolbert at allison.woolbert@gmail.com.

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Allison Woolbert – Organizer for UUSJS / Interweave 2009 Gay Pride Rally

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Allison Woolbert
Allison Woolbert

Hundreds March In Philly Gay Rights Rally

First National Demonstration Since 2000 For Gay Rights In Marriage, Workplace

PHILADELPHIA, May 3, 2009

People gather across from Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Sunday May 3, 2009, to demonstrate for gay rights.  (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

(AP)  Hundreds of gay rights demonstrators marched through the streets of the city’s historic center on Sunday carrying rainbow-colored flags and signs calling for equal rights in marriage, in the workplace and in health care.

The National Equality Rally was billed as the first national demonstration since 2000 for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights and the first held outside Washington. The marchers displayed signs from dozens of organizations and photos of people they said had been killed because of their sexualities.

The march ended with a rally in front of Independence Hall, where rainbow-colored umbrellas came in handy in a steady drizzle. The crowd listened to music from a band and a chorale singing the national anthem, and a cheer rose at the sound of the bell from the spire of the building where the Constitution was drafted.

Speakers called for support for gay marriage, more money for AIDS research and an end to workplace discrimination and the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prohibits gays in the military from being open about their sexual orientation. One participant wearing a fatigue jacket and pink slacks held a sign saying “Do ask, do tell.”

“We don’t wilt, and we don’t melt. We are here for equality now,” Malcolm Lazin, executive director of the Equality Forum local gay rights group, which sponsored the event, told the crowd.

Bryan Berchok, of Upper Bucks County, Pa., listened to the speeches as he held his 4-year-old adoptive son, Shawn, whose face was painted to resemble the black mask of Spider-Man’s evil alter ego. He and his partner of 15 years, John Ferraro, said it was difficult and expensive to try to get the same rights afforded to married couples.

“We worry how things would work out if one of us was not able to care for Shawn,” Berchok said. “It’s just a little scary.”

Allison Woolbert, who chairs the Interweave gay rights group of southern New Jersey, said she wanted more attention given to health care for transgender people, who she said often are refused care by medical personnel and whose medications are not covered in health plans.

A few counterdemonstrators held religious signs at the margins of the gathering, and one preached with a bullhorn as the marchers filed past.

At the time of the last national rally, nine years ago, Vermont had just passed the first civil union law in the country. Now, gay marriage is legal in Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa and Massachusetts, with bills pending in other states. California briefly allowed it last year, but a voter initiative repealed it.

Speakers on Sunday noted that Independence Hall was the site of the first Reminder Day picket for gay rights on July 4, 1965. That gathering attracted about 40 people, but about 150 attended the fifth one in 1969, just after the landmark Stonewall riots in New York, considered the birth of the U.S. gay rights movement.

Nurit Shein, executive director of the Mazzoni Center, a local health services office serving the gay community, told Sunday’s crowd that gays will be “seen” and “counted.”

“Equal means equal,” Shein said, “not separate, not less.”

© MMIX, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Note:  This article was written  concerning the march on Philadelphia during the Gay Pride Parade to bring attention to the current health care issues for transgender people by Allison Woolbert with many members of the  Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South Jersey and Interweave of South Jersey.  Allison Woolbert was instrumental in organizing and getting people to the parade to speak loudly and defend the human rights of the LGBT.

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Allison Woolbert appointed as the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Transgender Advocate

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Woolbert named transgender advocate

CEO of Phoenix Consultants Group Allison Woolbert of Egg Harbor Township has been named transgender advocate to the Unitarian Universalist Unite Nations Office in New York.

In her position, Woolbert wil lead outreach to Unitarian Universalist congregations and allies in the United States to support the needs of people who are transgendered.

The UU-UNO is the foremost faith-based advocate for human rights for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) people.

Woolbert is founder and coordinator of Interweave of South Jersey, a membership organization actively working to end oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

For more about the UU-UNO see www.uu-uno.org

Current of EHT / Wednesday, July 15, 2009

 

 

 

 

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