Pete Buttigieg says some LGBTQ young people felt “empowered” by opposing his campaign

Mayor Pete Buttigieg At The Abbey in West Hollywood May 2019
Mayor Pete Buttigieg At The Abbey in West Hollywood May 2019 Photo: Shutterstock

Former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) said that some LGBTQ people felt “empowered” by being negative about his campaign and his sexual orientation.

Pete and Chasten Buttigieg were talking with actor Billy Eichner in an online interview organized by GLAAD.

Related: “Queers Against Pete” protestors try to shout down Buttigieg

Eichner asked Buttigieg about what he perceived as a generational divide between some LGBTQ people who “can’t believe you even exist and are so proud and excited to see your success” and a “much younger LGBT generation who don’t feel that same sense of connection to you simply because you’re gay.”

Buttigieg accepted Eichner’s generational framing: “I saw and was so moved by that same thing you’re talking about where people, especially from an older generation, sometimes would come up to me and couldn’t form words, they’d tear up and I would know what it was they were saying. It was very humbling to hear that they were moved to think about my candidacy in the context of that struggle, because that’s a struggle I don’t even fully understand.”

“To even be able to do this, for Chasten and me to be married, certainly for me to be an out candidate, we are standing on their shoulders,” he said. “There was something so powerful about that.”

Then Buttigieg talked about the “negativity” he faced from LGBTQ people: “Part of that is how social media works. Part of that comes along with politics.”

“I wonder if for some people it was empowering as a group that’s still so close to the edge in terms of marginalization to frankly feel empowered to be queer and to not vote for…” he said.

“You know there’s one generation that’s astonished there can even be a candidate and they have the freedom to vote for a candidate who’s queer. I think for others it may have been empowering to be able to be queer and not vote for a candidate who is queer. On some level I get that. I just hope that people can have whatever their political views are and not be mean. I don’t believe we need to add any more meanness to this world.”

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