President Obama last night thanked Lawrence Goldyn, his gay college professor and friend, for shaping his views on LGBT rights.
Speaking at a Pride reception at the White House, President Obama said: “Lawrence was the first openly gay person I knew who was unapologetic. He stood his ground and if someone gave him guff, he gave them guff right back.”
The President continued to say that Mr Goldyn, who taught him in 1979, was “one of those quiet heroes who was “part of a generation that fought so many battles that ultimately came into fruition later”.
President Obama said that his administration was the most LGBT-friendly in history and listed successes such as ten more states introducing equal marriage; the first openly gay NFL player; a Harvey Milk stamp and Laverne Cox appearing on the front cover of Time magazine.
However, President Obama admitted that there was “still a little bit more work to do” and re-affirmed his intention to sign an executive order banning discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation for federal contractors.
He also said that he would sign an executive order banning discrimination on the grounds of gender identity which will protect transgender federal employees.
He did not say when he would be signing either of these executive orders.
Mr Obama’s speech also had some lighter moments such as when the President joked that his wife and children had cried when Cameron and Mitchell from Modern Family got married. “That was big,” he said.
He also thanked his gay Presidential pastry chef Bill whose pies he joked were responsible for his high cholesterol.