Pete Buttigieg has become the first presidential candidate to share their coming out story during a presidential debate.
As part of the third Democratic primary debates, Buttigieg responded to a question about professional setbacks with an anecdote of the struggles he has faced with his sexuality and accepting himself. “As a military officer serving under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and as an elected official in the State of Indiana when Mike Pence was governor, at a certain point, when it came to professional setbacks I had to acknowledge whether just being who I was, was going to be the ultimate career-ending professional setback,” he said.
Buttigieg further stated, “So I just came out. I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be especially because, inconveniently, it was a reelection year in my social conservative community. What happened was when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and reelect me with 80% of the vote and what I learned was trust can be reciprocated”.
Just stepped off the #DemDebate stage. I made the case for why it’s time to break with the past and push forward new ideas—bold enough to meet our challenges and big enough to bring people together to get things done. If I made you proud, chip in now: https://t.co/R0exsDGPhc pic.twitter.com/e39r7O0Tqr
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) September 13, 2019
In April 2019, Buttigieg announced his bid for presidency, making him the first-ever openly gay presidential candidate. The 2020 candidate and his husband Chasten were featured on the May cover of TIMES with the headline “First Family”. In the article, Buttigieg was described as Trump’s opposite, “younger, dorkier, shorter, calmer and married to a man.”
During Buttigieg’s campaign launch, Annise Parker of Victory Fund, voiced support for his run, “There is enormous power in an openly gay presidential candidate stumping at town halls in Iowa and speaking to Americans from the presidential debate stage. It changes perceptions of our community and raises the bar for candidates who seek LGBT+ support.”
Since the announcement of his candidacy, Pete Buttigieg has been groundbreaking in speaking about his personal experience with his sexuality. This is not the sole defining aspect of his campaign. As he said during the Democratic debate, “We have to know what we are about and this election is not about any of us up here. […] It’s about the people that trust us with their lives.”
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