"God's love is radically inclusive."
By
Michaela Morgan

8 May 2017 - 11:40 AM  UPDATED 8 May 2017 - 11:40 AM

For the first time, a church in Cuba has held a transgender inclusive Mass led by three trans pastors from Brazil, Canada and the US, Reuters reports.

The service was held in the western Cuban city of Matanzas and was part of a three-day conference on the transgender community and theology.

“This 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," said Allyson Robinson, a trans Baptist reverend from Washington.

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The Metropolitan Community Church was decorated with rainbow flags and the pastors wore light blue, pink and white stoles—paying tribute to the colours of the transgender flag.

"Tonight has been a night of celebration of equality between all people, marking a new era for Cuba," said Alexya Salvador, a Brazilian trans pastor. "God's love is radically inclusive."

The Mass marks an important milestone for communist Cuba—religious believers and members of the LGBT+ community were sent to correctional labour camps following the 1959 revolution.  

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“We know our religion is against of all kinds of discrimination and hatred and teaches us lessons of unity, love and peace."

The service gave hope to members of the trans community— including 26-year-old trans woman Malu Duardo who said it was a reminder that “there is a God for everyone”.

"I leave with having learnt a lot of things I can share with other trans," she said.

The small church is normally led by lesbian pastor Elaine Saralegui who also hosts Mass at LGBT+ events around the rest of the island.  

Cuba is set to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the global day against homophobia next weekend.