Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has become the first out LGBTQ+ candidate to receive a nomination for the U.S presidential cabinet.
During a press conference on Wednesday, December 16, the Biden-Harris transitional team announced Buttigieg’s nomination for Secretary of Transportation. He has now become the youngest member named to the cabinet so far as well as the first out LGBTQ+ candidate to be nominated.
Buttigieg spoke on his historic cabinet nomination and addressed how homophobia has blocked previous out candidates. He stated, “I’m also mindful that the eyes of history are on this appointment, knowing that this is the first time an American president has ever sent an openly LGBTQ cabinet member to the Senate for confirmation.”
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) December 16, 2020
Speaking about being an openly LGBTQ+ cabinet nominee, Buttigieg expressed, “Two decades later, I can’t help but think of a 17-year-old somewhere who might be watching us right now. Somebody who wonders whether and where they belong in the world or even in their own family and I’m thinking about the message today’s announcement is sending to them. “
The Transportation Secretary-designate further reflected on barriers against LGBTQ+ people in politics, “I can remember watching the news, 17 years old in Indiana, and seeing a story on an appointee of President Clinton, named to be an ambassador attacked and denied a vote in the Senate because he was gay ultimately able to serve, only by a recess appointment.”
“At the time I had no aspirations of being appointed by a president to anything — at that age, I was hoping to be an airline pilot. And I was a long way from coming out, even to myself, but still, I watched that story and learned something about some of the limits that exist in this country when it comes to who is allowed to belong. But just as important, I saw how those limits could be challenged,” Buttigieg continued.
In regards to challenging barriers within US politics, there have been numerous historic firsts for the LGBTQ+ community paving the way since the 2020 elections. These include the groundbreaking moment in which trans veteran Shawn Skelly joined President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to evaluate the Department of Defence.
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