Pop Francis will have his first public engagement with an LGBT activist in July.
Simón Cazal, the executive director of the Paraguayan LGBT rights group SOMOSGAY, was invited to meet the Pope and civil society leaders at a round table in Paraguay’s capital city, Asunción.
Though Francis has reportedly had pastoral meetings with LGBT people, this is the first time he will publicly meet with an activist.
Buzzfeed reported Cazal received an invitation on June 4 from the committee of the Paraguayan bishops’ conference due to the “high impact of your organization on Paraguayan society.” It came soon after SOMOSGAY launched a campaign asking the Catholic Church to “abandon the positions of intolerance and insults dehumanizing LGBT people.”
Francis will be visiting Asunción as part of his upcoming South American Tour. Though he has appeared to have a more tolerant attitude towards the LGBT community than Popes in the past, he has still stated his position to gay unions.
Cazal’s husband, fellow SOMOSGAY activist Sergio López, said SOMOSGAY was shocked to be included in the meeting. He is hoping Francis will “address the issue” of violence targeting LGBT people.
The meeting will be held July 11.