Diego Neria Lejarraga, a transgender man, had a private meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican in January, as told by the Spanish magazine Hoy, and reported on Addicting Info. Lejarranga, 48, a lifetime Catholic, had written a letter to the pope asking him if there was a place in the Church for him. The Pope answered by calling him directly and inviting him to a private session at the Vatican.
Lejarraga told Hoy the meeting culminated with the Pope embracing him.
Alienated from his church, Lejarraga wrote that he had been called the “devil’s daughter” by his local parish priest and felt isolated. He was born a woman but needed to live as a man. He had heard about the Pope reaching out to marginalized people.
He was astonished when the Pope called him and issued the invitation to come and bring his fiancee. The Pope told him that there was a “place in the house of God for him.”
Article author Kerry-Anne Mendoza, while writing that the Church remains too conservative in many ways, including its views on same-sex marriage and women’s role in the Church, lauds the Pope’s desire to welcome and affect someone’s life deeply. She wonders whether all people can profit from this acceptance.
The Vatican does not confirm or deny the story.
Imara Jones, in a brief video at the end of the article, notes that six in ten transgender people have attempted suicide. She is hopeful that the Pope is turning the Church in a new direction, noting that the Pope has stated< “Who am I to judge?” in relation to homosexuals.