The Advocate, the nation's largest-circulating and oldest continually published magazine dedicated to LGBT issues and politics named Pope Francis "Person of the Year" in its December, 2013 issue.
The article is well worth reading, and looks into some of the Pope's attitudes as a Cardinal in Argentina as well as the famous statements on homosexuality since he became Pope in March of this year.
Now, Francis is certainly not what I would call a "progressive" on these matters, but compared to some of his predecessors, he's positively radical in his insistence on treating all people with dignity. For example, as Argentina was preparing to adopt marriage equality, then-Cardinal Bergoglio stated that the option for "civil unions" for gays and lesbians, also under consideration, would be the "lesser of two evils". Now, for American progressives, that doesn't sound very, well, "progressive". However, for a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church who is now the Pope to declare himself possibly open to such an idea is rather revolutionary.
It is a paragraph towards the end of the article in The Advocate which is, to the US LGBT community, perhaps the most important observation the magazine makes in its case for naming the Pope "Person of the Year":
One thing we know from 2013 is that no matter the dedication of our activists, in the end we are often faced with a straight person who decides our fate. Will the nine straight people seated on the Supreme Court — six of whom who are Roman Catholic — ever cast a far-reaching ruling that makes marriage equality legal in all 50 states? Will the House of Representatives — of which nearly a third of members are Catholic, more than any other religion — pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act? Will any of them consider the pope's advice against casting judgment? (Emphasis mine.)
With 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, what the Pope says matters. The Advocate
gets that, and so should we. I never thought I'd see a Pope named Person of the Year by an LGBT publication. Times, they are a changin.