Pope Francis is making transgender news again as he prescribes both acceptance and exclusion.
The pontiff held a lengthy press conference aboard a flight home to Rome from Georgia and Azerbaijan. He discussed an encounter last year with a Spanish transgender man who requested a personal meeting to describe his experience. “She is a young woman who suffered much because she felt like a young man,” the pope misgendered as he explained the encounter according to the National Catholic Reporter. “She felt like a young man, but she was physically a young woman.” After clarifying the “woman” he was speaking about had undergone gender reassignment surgery, he described the man with the correct pronouns stating, “He wrote me a letter saying that, for him, it would be a consolation to come [see me] with his wife,” the pope said, while making sure he clarified further stating, “He that was her but is he.”
“”Life is life and you must take things as they come”
“Life is life and you must take things as they come,” explained the pontiff implying that such issues need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. He also conflated the gay and transgender experience when asked what he would say to someone who had struggled for years with their sexuality and felt that their physical appearance did not correspond with their sexual identity by explaining as a priest, bishop “and even as pope” he has accompanied Gay people in trying to help the get close to God. “People must be accompanied, as Jesus accompanied,” said the pope. “When a person who has this situation comes before Jesus, Jesus will surely not say: ‘Go away because you’re homosexual.'”
In a meeting with Catholics in Georgia on Saturday, Pope Francis called gender theory “a great enemy” of marriage. He later clarified on the flight that he felt there was a distinction between accompanying people in pastoral situations and the “indoctrination” of young people with regards to gender expression. “It is one thing for a person who has this tendency … and also changes their sex,” the pontiff continued. “It is another thing to teach in schools along this line. Changing the mentality: I call this ideological colonization.”
“Don’t say, ‘The pope will bless transgender people,’ OK?”
The pope continues to balance the line between acceptance and exclusion when it comes to transgender issues. In the end the pontiff went out of his way to make sure it was clear he was not giving transgender people his blessing. “Please,” the pope told the reporters, “Don’t say, ‘The pope will bless transgender people,’ OK?”