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>> This cup is my blood.>> Cuba's LGTB community holding its first transgender-led mass this weekend, a first for the Communist-ruled island. In the western city of Matanzas, three transgender pastors from Brazil, Canada and the US led a diverse congregation to celebrate equality between all people during a three day event.
A striking sign of progressiveness for a country where religion and anything but heterosexuality were seen as out of step with the nation's values for decades. Reuters correspondent Sara Marsh is in Cuba.>> In Cuba both religious believers and homosexuals were persecuted after the 1959 revolution, with many sent to correctional labor camps, but times have changed.
Over the last two decades in particular, the LGBT community has become increasingly accepted. The state, for example, now pays for sex change operations. Still, activists say that much more needs to be to be done. Unlike in other countries in Latin America, gay couples here cannot marry, they cannot adopt children, something that really shocked the Brazilian transsexual pastor here that has adopted children.
>> This is not only a first of its kind event for Cuba but it's certainly one of the very first ever to be held anywhere in the world. Transgender pastors from different denominations and traditions from different nations coming together to share their experience and encourage one another, encourage the church.
>> Despite the groundbreaking celebration, Cuba lags behind its Latin American neighbors when it comes to LGBT equality. The Cuban government has promised updating the family code to allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt for years, but so far those changes have been slow to materialize.