The Advocate, the oldest LGBTI publication in the US, named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Monday (16 December).
The magazine placed a NoH8 campaign tattoo on the cheek of the head of the Catholic Church for its cover illustration along with the quote 'If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge.'
Such sentiments are a dramatic reversal from the anti-gay rhetoric of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI who had once written that homosexuality was 'intrinsically evil.'
The magazine's criteria for selecting its Person of the Year was this: 'The single most influential person of 2013 on the lives of LGBT people.'
The Advocate points out that Francis is the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world and that impact of what he says and does cannot possibly be underestimated.
The article states: 'The remaining holdouts for LGBT acceptance in religion, the ones who block progress in the work left to do, will more likely be persuaded by a figure they know. In the same way that President Obama transformed politics with his evolution on LGBT civil rights, a change from the pope could have a lasting effect on religion.'
The Pope's own words from an interview with America magazine show a man who is not anti-gay: 'A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: "Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?" We must always consider the person.'
Edie Windsor, the plaintiff whose lawsuit gutted the US Defense of Marriage Act, was a finalist just as she was last week for Time Magazine Person of the Year. Pope Francis also got the Time honor.