Pope Francis assured a transgender person that "God loves us just as we are" during his 'Popecast' episode, a Vatican podcast launched before World Youth Day.
The podcast's second episode shared messages from young Catholics, including one from Giona, a transgender individual struggling to reconcile gender identity with faith.
Responding to their comment, the Pontiff said that “the Lord always walks with us” and urged them to “not give up and keep striving ahead”.
“God loves us just as we are,” he said.
“The Lord always accompanies us, always. Even if we are sinners, He draws near to help us,” he said according to Vatican News. “Do not give up, keep striving ahead.”
This is not the first time the 86-year-old has shown a certain degree of openness towards the LGBT community. Earlier this year, he appointed an American priest known for his LGBTQ advocacy.
He also criticised laws criminalising same-sex relationships saying that “being homosexual isn’t a crime” as we are all “children of God”.
Same-sex marriage is still considered as going against the church’s doctrine though. In 2021, Francis allowed the publication of a document that reinforced that view, declaring that same-sex marriage would not be blessed in the Catholic Church as God “cannot bless sin”.