President Obama celebrates his LGBT legacy ahead of farewell address
President Obama will deliver a farewell address next week, as he prepares to leave the office of the Presidency.
The Democrat, elected President in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, has been a proud supporter of LGBT rights, leading a quiet revolution on equality in the US and around the world.
He is set to leave power on January 20, as Republican President-elect Donald Trump assumes the office.
Ahead of the date, the outgoing leader will address the nation one last time on January 10, from his hometown of Chicago.
Ahead of the event, he teased the speech by taking to Twitter to set out his legacy on a number of issues.
He wrote: “As we look ahead to the future, I wanted to take a moment to look back on the remarkable progress that you made possible these past 8 years.”
Noting progress on LGBT rights, he said: “From realizing marriage equality to removing barriers to opportunity, we’ve made history in our work to reaffirm that all are created equal.”
He also reflected on the address in a post on the White House website.
President Obama wrote: “In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead.
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“On Tuesday, January 10, I’ll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can’t be there in person.
“I’m just beginning to write my remarks. But I’m thinking about them as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.
“Since 2009, we’ve faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger. That’s because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding—our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.
“So I hope you’ll join me one last time.
“Because, for me, it’s always been about you.”
The leader is inviting public contributions ahead of the speech, which will take place next Tuesday.
President Obama is by far the most progressive President on LGBT issues in US history.
Despite facing a hostile Congress for most of his Presidency, he signed a federal hate crime law, filed legal briefs that helped bring about equal marriage, overturned Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, helped bring down the Defence of Marriage Act, banned homophobic discrimination for federal contractors, appointed an LGBT rights envoy, appointed a string of openly gay ambassadors and officials, oversaw a State Department that defends equality around the world, challenged anti-gay world leaders to their face, lit up the White House as a symbol of Pride, held a number of LGBT rights receptions, enshrined protections for LGBT people in healthcare law under Obamacare, issued a directive urging schools to protect LGBT students, helped block a number of homophobic Republican bills, recognised Ellen DeGeneres with a Congressional Medal of Freedom, made the Stonewall Inn a national monument, and led a nation in mourning after the Pulse tragedy.