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Barack and Michelle Obama
The most pro-LGBT president and first lady ever, Barack and Michelle Obama could make the list of coolest straight people every year. Yes, there were times early in his presidency that we wondered if he was really going to be the “fierce advocate” for LGBT people he had promised to be, but he has come through, and so has Michelle Obama. Among this year’s actions: The president condemned North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2, took a groundbreaking and much-challenged stand for transgender equality in schools (with his Department of Education’s guidance) and elsewhere, met with loved ones of Pulse shooting victims, and stood up for LGBT rights at the United Nations and the Democratic National Convention. The first lady gave a shout-out to LGBT Americans in her rousing convention speech, and while in a speech earlier in the year, she encouraged the graduating class of Jackson State University in Mississippi to stand up against anti-LGBT laws like the “religious freedom” measure passed in that state, which was later struck down in court. “We’ve got to stand side by side with all our neighbors — straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender; Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu immigrant, Native American — because the march for civil rights isn’t just about African-Americans, it’s about all Americans,” she said. We will sorely miss the Obamas — all the more given who’s set to occupy the White House when they leave. But we expect they will continue to be activists for social justice, and they have brought up two daughters who will be fierce advocates as well.