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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 27 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 26
Transgender priest in Pride celebration at National Cathedral - Gay bishop presides at service
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Transgender priest in Pride celebration at National Cathedral - Gay bishop presides at service

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Transgender priest was invited to preach for the first time at Washington DC's National Cathedral, at a special Pride celebration.

The Rev. Cameron Partridge is chaplain at Boston University, and a lecturer and counselor for Episcopal and Anglican students at the Harvard Divinity School. He completed his transition to male in 2001, according to Boston University.

Partridge lived as an out Lesbian for 13 years before transitioning to a male identity, and was a candidate for the priesthood at the time he informed his bishop that he would begin living as a man.

While women clergy - and especially Lesbian clergy - are controversial in the Episcopal church, and the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which it is the American branch, his ordination was sponsored by a progressive church in Massachusetts.

He is now one of seven openly Transgender Episcopal priests.

The Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the National Cathedral, says he hopes Partridge's appearance 'will send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community.'

The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly Gay Episcopal bishop, presided at the service. Robinson said 'the cathedral has come out to the world in new and bold ways.'

In his sermon, Partridge said Transgender people often have suffered 'intense oppression, isolation and despair.'

Nevertheless, he said, people need to be unashamed of who they are and embrace 'the blessing of collaborating visions.'

'We need to see one another, to be revelations to one another, to go out into the world together across our differences,' Partridge said, 'so that we might be able to show one another resources we literally may not be able to see or access on our own.'

In his sermon, Partridge referred back to scripture readings earlier in the service.

'When Jesus tells his disciples to speak in the light, to uncover the hidden, to proclaim from the heights, he is asking them to join that stream, to become active participants in that blindingly good news,' he said.

'Of course, Jesus also explicitly warns that not everyone would experience such revelation as good, and that some might actively persecute the disciples for it. Doing this work would be utterly demanding.'

The special Pride service came at the conclusion of two weeks of LGBTQ advocacy for the National Cathedral.

'A lot of really positive things have happened in the past year, but we still have a long way to go,' Hall said, referencing the overturning of California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court's decision to overturn part of DOMA.

'I hope to see a day where civil marriage equality is a reality in every state of the nation and also religious equality ... in all faith traditions,' he added.

The National Cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal diocese of Washington DC, but has also hosted Jewish and Orthodox congregations.

In July 2012, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church overwhelmingly passed groundbreaking resolutions barring discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in access to lay leadership and the ordination process.

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