Dear Mr. President Obama,

It has been refreshing to watch a leader such as yourself tread the murky waters of Washington politics with as much grace as you have exhibited. Time and time again, you and your family were wrought with defamation and less than well wishes, yet you have handled it all with a kind of class that surpasses imagination. The last 8 years have proven to be tough but you have persevered with a resilience reminiscent of our ancestors in whose bosom you have rested when weary. In your greying hair, we saw strands of worry, fear, and doubt but your ability to rise above the fray coated them with strength, courage, and wisdom.

Mr. Obama, you have helped to bolster the economy, and we saw job growth over a 6-year span of time. This was indicative of your administration’s immense economic capacity. In spite of the all the opposition from the right, the Affordable Healthcare Act assisted in the acquisition of health insurance for almost 20 million Americans, who theretofore had no access to insurance, including people with pre-existing medical conditions. For the first time in decades, the uninsured rate fell to less than 10 percent. Your administration championed clean energy by being forward thinking in the area of climate change. This marked the U.S. becoming a global leader in conversations around the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Obama administration re-established relations with Cuba which restored our diplomatic ties. Embassies were reopened in both the U.S. and Cuba as well as tourism and business negotiations. Your administration ensured the dismantling of the enrichment of uranium thus minimizing the possibility of acquiring nuclear weaponry in Iran. You have stood firm in the face of terrorism including but not limited to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS. You continued to strongly insist that we stand in solidarity against terroristic threats, foreign and domestic. Intuitively, you understood the need to refurbish “No Child Left Behind” in order to better educate our children. You prevented a government shut down due to proposing a manageable budget deal.

We in the LGBTQIA community would like to thank you for your diligence in reassuring our citizenship and helping to bring our marginalization to the forefront of your policies. Because of your legacy we can boast of many signature pieces of LGBTQIA inclusive legislation in the last 8 years. These feats include the passing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to include LGBTQIA persons. The directive to afford same-sex couples the same benefits by governmental agencies was the precursor to the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act. Gender identity was added to the equal opportunity policy governing federal jobs as well as the equal treatment of transgender employees. During your time in office, you made over 200 appointments to the federal governments who were LGBTQIA including the first openly transgender White House official. In June 2016, you designated the park at Stonewall as the first ever national LGBTQ monument.

All of this headway was possible through agile persistence that only you could muster in the wake of continuously harsh opposition that you faced. We as American citizens really appreciate your hard work and determination. We will never forget your tireless efforts to be inclusive, compassionate, and patriotic. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We cannot wait to see what the universe has in store for the Obama legacy after you leave office.

The LGBTQIA Community