In a historic first, the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., welcomed an openly transgender priest to deliver its guest sermon this past Sunday.
As a part of the cathedral's LGBT Pride Month activities, the Reverend Dr. Cameron Partridge took the pulpit in a service led by Rev. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop.
In his sermon, Rev. Partridge addressed the church's promise to "respect the dignity of every human being," encouraging congregants to deepen their understanding of those different from themselves. His words echoed his recent interview with the Washington Blade, in which he explained, "We have human differences, and they are not simply impediments to get over. They are part of what we need to engage in order to realize our full humanity. That can be something that trans people can be called to."
In an interview with Reuters, Bishop Robinson stressed how important Rev. Partridge's message of inclusion was to LGBT youth in particular, especially those who are homeless, who have "been told for years at a time that ... God finds them objectionable and not worthy of God's love."
Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, said in a press release that he hoped Partridge's presence "[would] also send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community."
Since 2012 the Episcopal Church has allowed the ordination of transgender people. Partridge, who currently serves as the Episcopal chaplain at Boston University and lectures at Harvard Divinity School, is one of seven transgender Episcopal clergy members.
Watch footage of Rev. Partridge's sermon in the Reuters report below.