In his final speech as President of the United States, Barack Obama has addressed LGBT rights.
After eight years of service as the leader of the United States, Obama will hand over his position to Donald Trump on the 20th January, but he made sure to deliver a rousing closing speech first.
Addressing supports in his hometown of Chicago, the president called upon Americans to not ‘take for granted’ their democracy and freedom. Obama went onto thank his supporters for helping to make same-sex marriage, among other things, a reality.
Referring to the huge changes in equality since he was sworn in eight years ago, Obama stated: “…We cannot withdraw from global fights to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights, no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem. That’s part of defending America.”
“If I had told you eight years ago… that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high.
“But that’s what we did. That’s what you did. You were the change. You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.”
He concluded: “My fellow Americans, it has been the honour of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain.
“For now, whether you’re young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President – the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.
“I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.”
He also addressed his wife, Michelle, and how integral she has been to their success:
“Michelle – for the past twenty-five years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor.
“You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud.”
Watch his closing speech below: