President Barack Obama kicked off the Logo Network’s "Trailblazer Honors" ceremony on Thursday with a special video message that celebrated the network as well as the country’s advancements in LGBT equality over the past decade.
"Tonight is a chance to celebrate, not just ten years of Logo, but 10 years of extraordinary progress for our country," Obama said. "When this network aired its first show, gay marriage was a political wedge issue used to divide us. Today the majority of Americans live in states where they can get married, no matter who they love."
Obama’s administration is being honored at the ceremony for its record in support of the LGBT community, including the passing of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, the decision not to support the Defense of Marriage Act, and the expansion of health coverage access to LGBT citizens.
"Throughout his tenure, President Obama and his administration have provided the political leadership, will, and muscle necessary for the LGBT equality movement to realize so many of its highest aims," said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV and Logo. "As the LGBT community pushes ahead into a new era, we are proud to recognize the Obama Administration for its commitment to LGBT equality and its role in accelerating the monumental progress of the last decade."
The president cited some of that progress, and also paid tribute to increased LGBT visibility, indirectly citing Caitlyn Jenner recent Vanity Fair cover.
"Today 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' is history," the commander-in-chief said in his message. "We passed the hate crime law that bears Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.’s name. And all you have to do is look at this month’s cover of Vanity Fair to see how America is more accepting of people for who they truly are."
Orange Is the New Black actress Samira Wiley and out retired NBA player Jason Collins introduced the president’s message. The ceremony will also pay tribute to openly gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin, Judy & Dennis Shepard, Iranian LGBT activist Arsham Parsi and "Trailblazing Parents."
"We still have plenty of work to do together, but tonight is a reminder that when everybody does their part, when every voice is heard, change is not just possible – change is inevitable," President Obama concluded. "So here’s to 10 extraordinary years, and all the years to come. Let’s keep standing together to make sure every American is treated with dignity and respect they deserve."
The "Trailblazer Honors" airs on Logo on Saturday, June 27 at 8:00 PM ET/PT.