Barack Obama has appeared on the cover of Out Magazine, becoming the first sitting president to be photographed for an LGBT publication.
The photoshoot was conducted in recognition of the magazine’s decision to name Obama as its “Ally of the Year” for the gay community, after he helped secure same-sex marriage in the United States.
Founded by Michael Goff in 1992, Out magazine annually dedicate one of their monthly issues to celebrating and thanking a list of one hundred people who have contributed to the LGBT community over the past year. The list is called the ‘Out100′.
“A president who came to office on a wave of euphoria,” writes Out’s editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin, “appeared to lose momentum halfway through, but has since rallied, helping us secure marriage equality, among other landmark initiatives that are transforming our place in America.”
In the accompanying interview, Obama explains why he felt so strongly that denying homosexual couples marriage was “unconstitutional”. The President cites his mother as a champion of inclusivity, remembering how she taught him that “every person was of equal worth”.
Obama also acknowledges that the time was right to legalise gay marriage across America, as he has witnessed social changes between his own and his daughters’ generations. “To Malia and Sasha and their friends,” says the President, “discrimination in any form against anyone doesn’t make sense. “It doesn’t dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends’ parents who are same-sex couples should be treated any differently. That’s powerful.”
The President also remembers the influence an openly gay professor had on him during his time at Occidental College, California. According to Obama, Dr Lawrence Goldyn “went out of his way to advise lesbian, gay and transgender students.
“And keep in mind,” continues Obama, “this was 1978. That took a lot of courage, a lot of confidence in who you are and what you stand for.”
Olympic gold medallist Caitlyn Jenner and actress Lily Tomlin also took places on the list, with many other writers, sportspeople and even CEOs making the cut.
Obama recognised the influence of all these people in his interview, and stressed how important this year has been for the LGBT community. “There had been a remarkable attitude shift – in hearts and minds – across America,” he commented. “The ruling reflected that.
“It reflected our values as a nation founded on the principle that we are all created equal.”