Jim Obergefell is well aware of the legacy his Supreme Court case has in the LGBT community. The victory before the highest court in the land last June paved the way for marriage equality in all 50 states.
Now, almost a year later, he only has eyes for what else we can accomplish.
"We have much more work to do," he told Out. "Unfortunately, in too many places, a [same-sex] couple who exercises the constitutional right to marry can then be fired, be kicked out of their home, and more. Marriage equality was a great step forward, but the backlash has been vicious."
The Out100 honoree warned specifically about the dangers facing "our transgender siblings."
"We must continue to advocate for them by educating people on gender identity and fighting against these "bathroom bills" that are popping up around the country," he said.
In response to this backlash, Obergefell tells the LGBT community to put pressure on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under federal civil rights law.
He said the bill is "the one thing we can do to have the greatest impact on LGBTQ equality" and the bill "won't stop discrimination, but it will create protections we currently lack."
As he heads into Pride weekend, he remembers his first Pride celebration. We ask him what he would tell his younger self about the changes that have taken place today, if he could.
"I would tell myself to never be afraid to be an out gay man," he said. "The fear I felt while in the closet is nothing compared to the joy of living openly and honestly. The most effective thing we can do to change hearts and minds is to come out and tell our stories. Come out, be proud of yourself, and be part of making the world a better place not just for yourself but for others."