- South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg shares why he decided to come out as gay, despite the repercussions it may have had on his election as mayor in his “socially conservative” community.
- “I had to wonder whether just acknowledging who I was, was going to be the ultimate, career-ending professional setback,” Buttigieg said during the 2020 Democratic debate in Houston.
- People watching the debate commended Buttigieg for his bravery on sharing such a personal experience on a public, national stage.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
In a candid moment during the third 2020 Democratic debate on Thursday, South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg shares why he decided to come out as gay, despite the repercussions it may have had in his “socially conservative” community.
During the debate hosted by ABC in Houston, Buttigieg reflected on his hesitations on deciding to come out, especially during an election year.
“I had to wonder whether just acknowledging who I was, was going to be the ultimate, career-ending professional setback,” Buttigieg said.
As a Navy veteran, Buttigieg was deployed to Afghanistan and operated as a military officer serving under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which barred military personnel from openly identifying as LGBTQ.
Buttigieg was later elected to office in Indiana, while Vice President Mike Pence was serving as the state’s governor. Pence has notably drawn criticism over his lack of support for the LGBTQ community.
Pete Buttigieg reflects on his decision to come out and the challenges of being a "military officer serving under 'don't ask, don't tell,'" and being "an elected official in the state of Indiana when Mike Pence was governor" https://t.co/T37EaVOvlU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/DBDMKMPvSH
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 13, 2019
“I came back from the deployment and realised, ‘you only get to live one life,'” the South Bend mayor said. “I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer, so I just came out.”
“What happened was, when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job I did for them, they decided to trust me and reelect me with 80% of the vote,” he continued.
People watching the debate commended Buttigieg for his bravery on sharing such a personal experience on a public, national stage.
I’m still thinking about what Pete Buttigieg said. I can’t even imagine what a difference it might have made for frightened, closeted teenage me to have heard a courageous testimony like that, and I’m so glad that young people today get to experience it. #DemDebate
— Jeff Chu 朱天慧 (@jeffchu) September 13, 2019
Buttigieg rounded off his testimony by adding that prioritising a person’s principles and identity over their desire to win is an important value, especially in this ongoing residential race.
“Part of how you can win and deserve to win is to know what’s worth more to you than winning,” Buttigieg said.
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