Obama remembers college professor at White House LGBT Pride event
June 30th, 2014
09:18 PM ET
3 months ago

Obama remembers college professor at White House LGBT Pride event

White House (CNN) - President Obama thanked his gay college professor Monday for being an influence on shaping his thoughts about gay rights issues.

During remarks to celebrate LGBT Pride Month, the President lauded his freshman year professor, Dr. Lawrence Goldyn.

“He was the first openly gay person that I knew who was unapologetic, who stood his ground,” Obama said. “He helped shape how I think about so many of these issues, and those sort of quiet heroes that sometimes don’t get acknowledged.”

Goldyn taught political science at Occidental College when Obama began studying there in 1979. Obama said that the two became really good friends and praised Goldyn for not being shy about his sexual orientation.

“If somebody gave him guff, he’d give them guff right back, and was, I think, part of a generation that really fought so many battles that ultimately came into fruition later,” the President said.

His former professor also was an adviser to lesbian, gay, and transgendered students. He changed careers and became a doctor who ran an AIDS clinic and now runs a health center.

President Obama celebrated other accomplishments of the gay and lesbian community since last year’s event.

“A lot has happened in the year since we last gathered here together. Same-sex marriage has gone into effect in 10 more states, which means that 43 percent of Americans now live in states where you’re free to marry who you love. The NFL drafted its first openly gay player,” he said to nearly 500 guests in the East Room.

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced plans to sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Many companies have such a policy in place but currently there is no federal law.

“The majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies to protect their employees because it’s the right thing to do and because many say it helps to retain and attract the best talent. And I agree. So if Congress won’t act, I will,” he said.

He encouraged the members of the gay, lesbian, and transgendered community to not give up on making continued progress.

“We’ve got a lot to be proud of, but obviously we can’t grow complacent. We’ve got to defend the progress that we’ve made. We’ve got to keep on reaching out to LGBT Americans who are vulnerable and alone, and need our support,” Obama said.


Filed under: Gay rights • President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Senor

    Oops at long last now we know the root cause of the weird decision making comes from where wrong is right and what natural is artificial even the mayor of little Kisumu can do a better job!

    June 30, 2014 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  2. Chris..E.al

    Come teach us how 2 be like a dem please i want 2 see how it works for ya .

    June 30, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Great joke about crack in the pies also. Our President had a sense of humor.

    July 1, 2014 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  4. just saying

    yes, we know... he was soooo affected by his relationship with this professor that he continued to be opposed to gay marriage for 33 years after this moving relationship and only changed his position to shake loose gay campaign contributions in the 2012 election. sniff, sniff... so touching and sincere. gag.

    July 1, 2014 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  5. sifto

    So, why did he wait until now to promote gay rights?

    July 1, 2014 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Obama is turning LGBT into celeb status.........and that is just as wrong, as his own desire to be a celeb in America.

    July 1, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  7. Dean

    Support is one thing...special rights are not deserved.

    July 1, 2014 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    No one has the right to tell another how to live their life in pursuit of their own happiness. I don't care what you think your religious texts tell you. Save that for your congregation. There's something called freedom of religion in this country, which also means that there is freedom from your religion. You cannot go around imposing your beliefs upon everyone you see. If you believe your religious teachings, than practice what they preach. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

    July 1, 2014 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Save that for your congregation. There’s something called freedom of religion in this country, which also means that there is freedom from your religion. You cannot go around imposing your beliefs upon everyone you see. If you believe your religious teachings, than practice what they preach.

    Sure they can Rudy. The SC just ruled they could. Like Hillary said, it's a slippery slope.😔

    July 1, 2014 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  10. Senor

    I havent seen religious leaders shoving the scriptures on peoples throats! the church leaders understands something called freedom of religion but it seems the filthy far left cant stop shoving sewer on peoples throats.

    July 1, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  11. Franny

    If this kind of injustice doesn't stop towards the Women in this country? WE will make a difference in 2010, and 2016, and it won't be pretty for the GOPTPers! This Supreme Court has done more to hurt this Nation than any Branch of our Democracy! Good grief folks it appears these 5 Justices have no conscience! Also, all five Justices being Catholic makes their decision to appear very Religious. This is scary, and Women can make a difference, unless they really don't care that their lives are being controlled, and disrespected by this very judgemental bunch!

    July 1, 2014 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  12. Hector Slagg

    Rome is burning. The Titanic is sinking but we are having party! Break out the Champagne!!

    July 1, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  13. it must be said

    Rudy NYC
    If you believe your religious teachings, than practice what they preach
    --

    We can't, the government and leftist Democrats keep attacking us when we do as you suggest. The Obama-Democrat War on Religion is in full swing.

    July 1, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. Lizzie

    Rudy NYC, I'm very proud of you, you're doing exactly as told, if all fails bring in Religion.

    July 1, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Marie MD

    Great joke about crack in the pies also. Our President had a sense of humor
    -----------------------------------------------------
    It was and he does Marie.

    July 1, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. foreverflag

    After watching the interview of Ayers on Kelly's File on Fox last night and this article on his professor, it seems the weirdest people have influenced the Prez. thinking. Of course they are a bit off center to say the least.
    He seems to have the strangest friends who influence him

    July 1, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. barryinlasvegas

    He didn't get gay religion until he needed their vote for re-election – that's when Obama became a switch hitter.

    July 1, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |