Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay presidential candidate for a major party, has one message for LGBT+ youth in the run up to the US election: Vote.
Buttigieg, the gay mayor from Indiana who was the surprise break-out star of the Democratic race earlier this year, has thrown his weight behind Joe Biden’s bid to get Donald Trump out of the White House.
And in an interview with The Guardian, the 38-year-old has spoken out about how this year’s US election is both political and deeply personal.
“When you see your own rights come up for debate, when you know something as intimate and central to your life as the existence of your family is something that is not supported by your president, and certainly your vice-president, it’s painful,” Pete Buttigieg said.
“It creates a sense of urgency that I hope will motivate many people – including a lot of LGBTQ younger people who maybe weren’t deciding so much how to vote as they were whether to vote – to see now is the time to vote like your life depends on it.”
Buttigieg’s history-making run to be the first openly gay US president ended in March, after his campaign suffered heavy losses in South Carolina during the primary. He’s since been tapped to serve in a key role on the presidential transition team of his former rival Joe Biden.
Despite Trump’s claims to support LGBT+ rights, Buttigieg said he’s very aware of how fragile the rights he and his husband, Chasten, enjoy are, saying he’s “mindful every day” that their marriage was possible “by the grace of one vote on our Supreme Court”.
Pete Buttigieg continued: “[Trump has] rarely missed an opportunity to attack the community, especially trans people, whether we’re talking about the ban on military service or issues around healthcare.
“But even for same-sex international adoption, this administration has taken us in the wrong direction and four more years would be a tremendous setback.
“Also around the world, we’re seeing, for example in eastern Europe, really disturbing setbacks in LGBTQ rights and equality without a strong United States leading the way in human rights, which requires leadership and credibility and also that we’re doing the right thing here at home.
“Without that, I think that people around the world are less safe.”