Caitlyn Jenner might have been crowned Out's Newsmaker of the Year, but for their cover, the gay and lesbian publication chose Mr. President himself, Barack Obama.
He's the first U.S. president to be photographed for an LGBT publication, marking a milestone in a year that has seen America divided on LGBT issues — especially after a Supreme Court ruling in June that made it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to wed. Obama, a same-sex marriage supporter himself, is also named Out's Ally of the Year, branding him as "Ally. Hero. Icon." on their cover. Speaking to editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin, the president touched on why LGBT equality is the key focus of his administration as well as the sentiments surrounding the world in which his teenage daughters Malia and Sasha are growing up in. Excerpts below.
On being different:
"This really goes back to when I was a kid, because my mom instilled in me the strong belief that every person is of equal worth. At the same time, growing up as a black guy with a funny name, I was often reminded of exactly what it felt like to be on the outside."
On LGBT issues in light of general issues:
"When we talk about LGBT issues, we emphasize the importance of universal human rights — the right to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly and the importance of non-violence, non-discrimination, and equality under the law — and those don't change or go away just because someone is a member of the LGBT community."
On how different his daughters' generation's mindset is on homosexuality:
"To Malia and Sasha and their friends, 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 differently than anyone else."
Read Barack Obama's full interview in Out here.