Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Neil Giuliano says he is optimistic about passage of gay legislation under an Obama administration.

In an interview with OUTTAKEOnline CEO Charlotte Robinson, Giuliano said he was optimistic that the hope that has been promised gays and lesbians will become reality in time.

“I think we have a very good chance at accomplishing legislation with regard to hate crimes, the employment non-discrimination act with the inclusion of the transgender community, and I think we're going to see the demise of 'don't ask, don't tell' in a short period of time as well,” he said.

Giuliano, 52, announced last month that he would step down from his post as president, a position he has held since September 2005. In a statement released to the media, GLAAD said he was departing to “pursue personal interests.”

The former Tempe, Arizona mayor revealed he would be working on a memoir about his political life after leaving the gay rights group, but remained quiet on the more contentious issues of his presidency, including the recent backlash against traditional suit-and-tie gay activists who have been accused of mismanaging the gay community's political capital after a heartwrenching gay marriage defeat in California on November 4.

“I'm optimistic about the federal [GLBT] agenda and feel really good about the way we are placed and the opportunities that we have to make a difference there,” he said.

“We still have challenges,” Giuliano added, “We still have a segment of society that considers us immoral and disordered, and not worthy of equality. Our job is to try to change their minds and their hearts.”

Giuliano said he does not have a fixed departure date but offered a date range of leaving after the GLAAD Media Awards end in May to midsummer.

Hear the complete audio interview at