Transgender man: I met with Pope Francis
By Al Goodman, CNN
Updated 8:39 PM ET, Fri January 30, 2015
But after his sex change operation eight years ago, many people scorned him in church in his hometown of Plasencia in western Spain. Neria recalls heated discussions with a parish priest and some others in town. Afterward, he started staying away from Mass.
"I've never lost faith, ever," Neria says. "But the other thing is the rejection."
He wrote to Pope Francis last year, saying his local bishop helped get the letter noticed. Next, according to Neria, came two phone calls from Francis. And then, a discreet audience on a Saturday evening, January 24, at the papal residence, Casa Santa Marta.
Vatican spokesmen and the local Spanish bishop's office declined to comment on the meeting, insisting the Pope's private meetings are just that.
[...] "This man loves the whole world," Neria says of Pope Francis. "I think there's not -- in his head, in his way of thinking, discrimination against anyone. I'm speaking about him, not the institution."