When it comes to the word of God, everyone wants to spread the good news-even a transgender priest. As long as the message is the same and uplifting, anyone should be able to deliver the word. Boston University’s Episcopal Chaplain already made history by being one of the first openly gay bishops to wear the cloth, but Reverend Dr. Cameron Partridge will continue to make a name for himself by preaching at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
Being the first to take the podium at the historical church, Dr. Partridge is the first member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community to preside. Partridge will step in as a guest preacher at the Canterbury pulpit on Sunday, June 22. According to Time, Partridge will be accompanied by other members of LGBT community and read excerpts from the Bible.
Reverend Partridge comprises one of seven history making openly transgender preachers in the Episcopal Church. He gained notoriety when he was the first trans to become a chaplain at Boston University in 2011. Being the first state to make same-sex marriage legal, it is no surprise that Massachusetts does not turn away members of the LGBT from breaking past taboos. His transition to chaplain helped pave the way for a sign on change within the Episcopal Church and resulted in the addition of non-discrimination for gender identity and expression to the canons within the church.
Although Partridge has become a revolutionary, in his own way, he did not find the “coming-out” process as easy. The reverend did not admit to his bishop that he was in the process of transitioning from a female to a male until being ordained as a priest. His admittance to his bishop Reverend M. Thomas Shaw was only met with support. To this day, Boston’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul still holds a memorial service for transgendered youth and adolescences on the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Since the passing of the same-sex marriage laws in Washington, DC, times have changed to become a more gay-friendly area. This change in service is well welcomed by the dean of the cathedral, Gary Hall and is a positive example of future changes that may take place in the future at the church. Hall has always been an advocate for the gay community in the church. Following the Supreme Court’s historical decision to reject the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, Hall has been started a policy of blessing same-sex marriages.
With so many changes taking place, there is still opposition from those in the Christian community. Transgender members are reported to still meet some hostility when entering the church or seeking membership. According to Chris Paige of Transfaith, a nonprofit organization focusing on the issues of faith and religion in the trans community, many transgendered members feel segregated or alone when walking into a church that still claims to be accepting of all walks of life. Paige is enthusiastic about the transgendered priest’s history making decision to provide a sermon and hopes that this will help bring light to the cause.
By Tyler Cole