Pope holds private meeting with transsexual man and his fiancée after the sex-swap Spaniard said his local priest had denounced him as ‘the devil’s daughter’
- Pope Francis invited transsexual for private audience at the Vatican
- Diego Neria Lejárraga, 48, was born a woman, but has had surgery
- Mr Neria, from Spain, has suffered rejection from his home parish
- Pope Francis invited Mr Neria and his fiancée after a phone call
Pope Francis has received a transsexual man at the Vatican, in a landmark gesture of acceptance by a pope. Diego Neria Lejárraga, a 48-year-old Spanish man who underwent sex reassignment surgery, wrote to Francis last year to tell him that he felt like an outcast from the church. Mr Neria said that he was rejected by some his fellow parishioners at his church in the western Spanish city of Plasencia, where a priest denounced him as ‘the devil’s daughter.’
Francis, who has become known for surprising people with unexpected phone calls, rang him on Christmas Eve.
The Spaniard and his female fiancée then had a private audience with the pope at his private residence on Saturday morning. Francis has built a reputation for acceptance and even appeared on the cover of gay magazine The Advocate after responding to a question about gays saying ‘Who am I to judge’. Mr Neria told Spanish newspaper Hoy: ‘After hearing him speak on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me.’