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Cuba holds first Mass lead by trans pastors

Cuba holds first Mass lead by trans pastors

The trans pastors from Brazil, Canada and the US were the first to hold a Mass in Cuba. Photo: Twitter via @la_osadia

Three pastors have just made history in Cuba becoming the first trans pastors to hold a Mass on the island nation.

Held on Friday in the western city of Matanzas the three pastors came from Brazil, Canada and the United States to hold the Mass.

Rainbow and trans flags were draped around the chapel for the special service. The Mass formed part of a three-day conference on trans issues and theology. The conference was organized by the Cuban branch of the international Metropolitan Community Church.

‘Tonight has been a night of celebration of equality between all people, marking a new era for Cuba,’ said the Brazilian pastor Alexya Salvador during the service.

‘God’s love is radically inclusive.’

Despite the fact same-sex couples are not allowed to marry or adopt children in Cuba, the pastors said they were impressed with with some of the country’s progress on LGBTI issues. The three cited state-funded gender reassignment surgery as impressive.

The US pastor Allyson Robinson came from Washington for the conference.

‘This [Mass] is not only a first of its kind event for Cuba, but certainly one of the very first ever to be held anywhere in the world,’ she said.

One participant at the Mass, Malu Duardo, told Reuters she had learned a lot during the service.

‘I leave with having learnt a lot of things I can share with other trans [people],’ she said.

‘In particular that there is a God for everyone.’

LGBTI have not fared well under communist rule in Cuba. Since 1958 when Fidel Castro came into power   many were rounded up, thrown into labour camps or heavily discriminated against.

‘We would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true revolutionary, a true communist militant,’ Fidel Castro told an interviewer in 1965. 

In 2010 he softened on his view, saying the persecution of LGBTI people was ‘unjust’.

But Castro’s daughter, Mariela, has been a vocal campaigner for LGBTI rights. Mariela is the current head Cuba’s National Centre for Sex Education.

Watch a video of some of the Mass