UU topic: ‘Living an Authentic Life’

By JJ O’Brien
Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship invites you to attend a presentation titled “Living an Authentic Life,” with visitor JJ O’Brien, from Sedona, Ariz., this Sunday, July 31, for its regular service.

O’Brien is a gender fluid/gender expansive person who lives in both genders and has two personas, John and Jennifer. O’Brien hid this secret from most people since childhood and had a lot of shame, guilt and fear wrapped around it growing up and into adulthood. In 1999, O’Brien sought therapy for several years for his/her gender identity issue. This therapy helped O’Brien finally accept, embrace and celebrate her female side.

During this contentious time of approval of anti-transgender legislation and bathroom bills around the country, it’s important for all of us to rise up against discrimination of transgender people. One of the best ways to do this is to educate ourselves and personally get to know those in the transgender community.

The first principle of the Unitarian Universalists affirms and promotes “the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” The second principle states a commitment to “justice, equity and compassion in human relations.” And the third principle declares the importance of accepting one another and growing spiritually. The Unitarian Universalist tradition calls on us to live these principles. In doing so, we make the world a better place to live.

O’Brien will share how essential it is for all of us to be our true selves and to live an authentic life. The truth will set us free.

O’Brien has lived in Sedona for more than 30 years. O’Brien holds a degree from Northern Arizona University and worked as the city of Sedona’s community development director and city planner for 24 years before retiring in 2012.

O’Brien is president of the Sedona/Verde Valley chapter of PFLAG, an LGBTQ support, education and advocacy organization. O’Brien is also a stand-up comedian and volunteers at the Sedona Red Rock High School as its football and basketball announcer. O’Brien’s mission is to help educate others about the transgender community and advocate for and support all transgender people who live somewhere along the gender spectrum.

The Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship welcomes people of all spiritual belief systems, ethnicity and sexual orientation and invites you to enjoy refreshments and conversation after services, which are held Sundays at 10:30 a.m. in Unit B-15 of the Greenbriar Plaza. From North Pagosa Boulevard, turn onto Park Avenue; then turn into the Greenbriar Plaza, drive to the east side of the parking lot and look for the Unitarian Universalist sign, facing north. For further information, call 731-7900.

This story was posted on July 28, 2016.