President Obama is Out Magazine’s Ally of the Year

Evolution complete.

President Obama just became the first president to pose for the cover of an LGBT magazine, as he was named Ally of the Year by Out Magazine. As Aaron Hicklin, who wrote the magazine’s cover story and conducted an interview with President Obama for the issue, explained, 2015 was by all accounts a banner year for the LGBT community. And President Obama was front and center in those cultural and political victories.

As he opened:

Rainbow White House, via Joe Wolf / Flickr

Rainbow White House, via Joe Wolf / Flickr

Yes, there’s work to be done — we are still waiting for Congress to pass comprehensive federal LGBT protections, for a start — but whichever way you look at it, this president and his administration have ushered extraordinary change into the lives of LGBT Americans. For someone who at first seemed coy, even awkward, on the subject, President Obama’s evolution on marriage equality has been something to behold. He came to office reiterating that marriage was an institution reserved for a man and a woman, and continued to hold that line throughout most of his first term, even while advancing other important legislation, including the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Other signal achievements included an order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, passage of the first federal LGBT law in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, encouraging the end to a ban on transgender military service, and the ongoing effort to create a more diverse judiciary. His nomination of Eric Fanning to be secretary of the Army, if successful, will make him the first openly gay head of a military branch.

So while we’ve closed the year on a loss, with social conservatives to scaring Houston into voting down an equal rights ordinance over the specter of nonexistent serial child rapists, it’s hard to argue that, on balance, things aren’t getting better. And President Obama, who lent that equal rights ordinance his endorsement, has presided over that progress and actively helped it move forward — especially in his second term.

Here are a few highlights from his interview, which you can read in full here.

On changes in generational attitudes toward LGBT equality:

My sense is that a lot of parents across the country aren’t going to want to sit around the dinner table and try to justify to their kids why a gay teacher or a transgender best friend isn’t quite as equal as someone else. That’s also why it’s so important to end harmful practices like conversion therapy for young people and allow them to be who they are.

On Kim Davis and the religious conscience of public officials:

I am a man of faith and believe deeply in religious freedom, but at the end of the day, nobody is above the rule of law — especially someone who voluntarily takes an oath to uphold that law. That’s something we’ve got to respect.

On the comparison of the LGBT community’s struggle for equality in Africa with African-Americans community’s struggle for equality in the US:

In the United States we talk a lot about working to perfect our union. And there is a lot of work to be done with respect to civil rights in the United States — for African-Americans, LGBT people, for many others. When I travel around the world and speak to foreign audiences, I think it is helpful when I acknowledge our own shortcomings and speak honestly about our history and the lessons we’ve learned along the way instead of pretending that we have all the answers. I think it also helps build the trust and openness we need to work together as countries to meet a whole range of challenges.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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10 Responses to “President Obama is Out Magazine’s Ally of the Year”

  1. 2karmanot says:

    As much as I do an Obomba who accepts a Nobel Peace Prize and then proceeds over the next seven years to bomb and murder thousands of innocent civilians. Like most powerful persons in his position he ‘compartmentalizes’ his crimes most sincerely as necessities of State.

  2. goulo says:

    Incredible as it may be for you to believe, Brian, many straight people actually support equal rights for gay people, even though they themselves are not gay, but because equal rights for all citizens are the right thing to support.

    Next up, when a white person is honored for supporting equal rights for black people, you’ll be insinuating that the white person should admit that they have secret black ancestry and are thus easy to blackmail.

  3. nicho says:

    Are you trying to say that Obama has a secret personal life?

  4. FLL says:

    Aluminum foil is for wrapping and cooking food, not for making those tin foil hats that don’t work anyway.

  5. BeccaM says:

    Your meds, they aren’t working.

  6. mf_roe says:

    Got any with hafnium?

  7. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Aluminum foil hats for sale! Aluminum foil hats for sale!

  8. Brian says:

    This is a very interesting magazine cover, Barack Obama should admit to the American people he has a secret personal life, he is an imposter, just like many other politicians.

    AIPAC the major arm of the Israeli Lobby finds people such as Barack Obama who have a stunning secret personal life and make them powerful politicians because they are easy to blackmail due to their embarrassing secret personal life.

  9. mf_roe says:

    You doubt Bomba’s sincerity?

  10. 2karmanot says:

    This is an Onion joke, right?

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