Barack Obama Is First U.S. President On An LGBT Magazine Cover

November 10th 2015

Laura Donovan

Barack Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to be photographed for an LGBT magazine.

Gracing the cover of Out magazine, the publication named him "Ally of the Year" and added him to its annual top 100 list of the most influential people in the LGBT community.

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Out editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin wrote:

"This is the first time a sitting president has been photographed for the cover of an LGBT title, a historic moment in itself, and a statement on how much his administration has done to advance a singularly volatile issue that tarnished the reputations of both President Clinton and President Bush."

Hicklin also acknowledged that Obama's reputation with the gay community could have been ruined as well if it weren't for his highly-publicized evolution on gay marriage several years ago.

In December 2010, Obama said his feelings on gay marriage were "evolving," and two and a half years later, he came out in support of same-sex marriage, "becoming the first U.S. president in history to fully embrace that level of civil rights for gays," according to the Washington Post.

Hicklin asserted that Obama's evolution on gay marriage came at a pivotal time, just before the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

"It might have tarnished [Obama] too, but for his late-hour conversion in 2012, which set the stage for the extraordinary succession of events that led to this year’s Supreme Court ruling, on June 26, making it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to wed. Many things led up to that decision—'decades of our brothers and sisters fighting for recognition and equality' as the president notes—but once his administration decided to join that fight it created what people like to call a 'transformative' moment. It helped tip the balance, and it put our elected leader on the right side of justice."

Hicklin added that Obama has elevated the LGBT community even in difficult moments during his time in office:

"[Obama is] a president who came to office on a wave of euphoria, appeared to lose momentum halfway through, and has since rallied, helping us secure marriage equality, among other landmark initiatives that are transforming our place in America."

Speaking to Out magazine, Obama said his support for the LGBT community goes back to childhood, when his mom instilled in him "the strong belief that every person is of equal worth."

"[G]rowing up as a black guy with a funny name, I was often reminded of exactly what it felt like to be on the outside," the president said. "One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal, and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are."

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