Tag Archives: lgbtq

Silver State Equality, Equality California Endorse Pete Buttigieg for President of the United States

Silver State Equality – Jan 30, 2020

“Mayor Pete will be our champion in the fight for a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people, and we believe he is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump and win this November.”

Silver State Equality, Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, announced a joint endorsement with Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, of Mayor Pete Buttigieg for President of the United States on Thursday. The decision was reached unanimously by the groups’ joint presidential endorsement committee following a lengthy process that included a detailed questionnaire, thorough evaluation of the candidates’ viability and policy positions, staff engagement and interviews with the candidates. The 2020 Nevada Caucus will be held on Saturday, February 22. For the first time, California’s primary will be held on Super Tuesday in March, and California voters will begin casting mail-in ballots on Monday, February 3.

Silver State Equality released the following statement from State Director André Wade:

“Today, we are proud to announce Silver State Equality’s enthusiastic endorsement of Mayor Pete Buttigieg for president of the United States.

“We believe that Mayor Pete Buttigieg has the boldest, most comprehensive agenda to achieve full, lived equality for all LGBTQ people of any presidential candidate in the nation’s history. His comprehensive plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030, his commitment to make our schools safe and supportive for LGBTQ students, his specific funding and policy priorities to protect and empower the transgender community — especially transgender women of color, who face an epidemic of violence and persecution — and his plans to invest in the Black and Latinx communities in Nevada and across the country are particularly compelling.

“Mayor Pete will be our champion in the fight for a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people, and we believe he is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump and win this November.

“While we did not endorse Mayor Pete simply because he’s gay, the historic nature of his candidacy certainly has already had a transformational impact on the LGBTQ community. Electing the first openly LGBTQ president has the power to inspire millions of LGBTQ youth across the country and give hope and pride to LGBTQ seniors who came of age at a time when LGBTQ people couldn’t serve openly in the federal government and now have the opportunity to cast their ballot for the first viable LGBTQ candidate for president of the United States.

“Every four years, Nevada plays a critical role in selecting the next president. Silver State Equality is ready to roll up our sleeves, get out the vote and take back the White House with Mayor Pete.”

In particular, Silver State Equality and Equality California were impressed by Mayor Buttigieg’s comprehensive plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030, his understanding that making schools safe and supportive requires bold investments in teacher training and mentorship programs for LGBTQ students, his specific policy and funding priorities to protect and empower the transgender community, his plan to transform the criminal legal system into one that truly promotes justice and instead of one that furthers racial injustice and his proposals for fixing our broken immigration system by protecting refugees and asylum seekers and providing millions of LGBTQ undocumented people, their friends and family with a pathway to citizenship.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg released the following statement in reaction to Silver State Equality and Equality California’s endorsement:

“I’m honored to receive the endorsements of Equality California and Silver State Equality, two organizations that have been unrelenting in their fight for LGBTQ+ people and our push for full equality. My campaign is based around a shared future of belonging for all Americans, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. President Trump’s attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, especially our trans members, have shown us that the fight for equal rights did not end with marriage equality. I will be the President to continue that fight for equality for all Americans.”

Every top tier 2020 presidential candidate sought Silver State Equality and Equality California’s endorsement — a testament to the LGBTQ community’s role as a key voting bloc in both important states and across the country. The Trump-Pence Administration is an existential threat to the LGBTQ community and the diverse communities to which LGBTQ people belong, and Silver State Equality and Equality California’s top priority in 2020 will be defeating Donald Trump and Mike Pence and putting a pro-equality president back in the White House. Both organizations have committed to supporting the Democratic nominee in the 2020 general election.

Although Silver State Equality and Equality California determined that Mayor Pete presented the boldest, most comprehensive plan for full, lived LGBTQ equality and is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump and win, the organizations were also impressed by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer, who both have extremely strong, compelling pro-equality policy agendas and participated in robust interviews with the joint presidential endorsement committee. Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Andrew Yang also submitted questionnaires outlining their strong support for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice.

Prior to dropping out of the race, Senator Kamala Harris participated in Equality California and Silver State Equality’s endorsement process, submitted an extremely strong, compelling questionnaire and participated in events with Equality California. After two decades of working with her, Equality California has immense respect and admiration for Senator Harris, and LGBTQ Californians are lucky to have her fighting for civil rights and social justice in the U.S. Senate.

2020 will be one of the most consequential election years for LGBTQ people in modern American history, and Silver State Equality and Equality California plan to run substantial get out the vote efforts in elections up and down the ballot. Silver State Equality has endorsed U.S. Representatives Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford — three incredible pro-equality champions — for reelection and plans to announce additional endorsements at the state and local levels in the coming months before the June primary election.

Queer Like Pete

Buttigieg is getting slammed for being a type of gay man America fails to appreciate.

by Jim Downs – Nov 25, 2019 (Slate.com, abridged)

As Pete Buttigieg rises in the polls in early caucus and primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, criticism of the candidate has mounted, particularly around his personality. Since entering the field, initial appreciation for the South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s relative youth and rolled-sleeves Midwestern energy has given way to a sense in certain incredulous quarters that he is robotic, overly polished, McKinsey-calculating, somehow fake. A related discontent has emerged in some corners of the LGBTQ community around Buttigieg’s relationship to his own gay identity. Here, too, he can come off as strangely circumspect, seemingly distant from gay culture and history—despite making it as the first serious openly gay presidential candidate. The privileges of race, class, and gender presentation that allow for his “pioneer” status relative to other sorts of queer people (and Buttigieg’s tepid acknowledgement of these) is another sore point.

For all the talk of diversity, LGBTQ equality, and representation of gays in the media, many Americans still have limited exposure to gay men. Many know of comical gay men, like Jack from Will & Grace or videos of Billy Eichner’s street antics. They know of attention-grabbing gay men like Liberace and Billy Porter. They know of the hot gay men like Wentworth Miller and Gus Kenworthy. They also know the American sweethearts like Adam Rippon and Anderson Cooper. A subspecies they aren’t as familiar with, however, are the Type A, politically driven, never-take-their-eye-off-the-ball gays—a group of which Pete Buttigieg is an extreme example.

I’ve come to know dozens of this kind of gay man throughout my life, particularly when I was in my 20s, during summer vacations in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in the late 1990s. A group of us would rent a beach house for a week or even the season. And there was always at least one, or even two, in the group: the guy who was not hungover, who was not wearing someone’s else boxers, but who was instead pristinely dressed in crisp polo shirts and who, like Buttigieg, would rattle off oral essays on anything from foreign relations in the Middle East to the benefits of flying with Air France. One particular guy I recall from this time had a penchant for planning every meal that we ate and organizing everything from the time we left for the beach to the first cocktail of the evening. This earned him the name of “Schedule Spice.”

So, when I see people dismissing or disliking Buttigieg for his stoicism, his carefully tended résumé, for being “a script, a blandly pasteurized politician,” I see them attacking Schedule Spice and the dozens of other gay men I knew like him.

Viewed through the lens of Schedule Spice, Buttigieg’s persona and life trajectory make complete sense. To my mind, he is the natural end result of a very familiar queer pattern that groomed him for this moment. His religious devotion to mastering the perfect pedigree, his refusal to be single, his denial of any type of popular gay aesthetic (which is, itself, another kind of gay aesthetic) make him legible to me. His academic nerdiness combined with his über-masculine military service is not a genuflection to heteronormativity, as some have claimed, but a familiar gay identity curated among upwardly mobile white gay men who have often turned to politics in one form or another. The only difference is that Schedule Spice is now vying for the presidency.

Psychologists have analyzed the relationship between a Type A personality, an adolescence in the closet, and a need for perfection. Taking their cue from Andrew Tobias’ bestselling memoir, they have developed a theory of the “the Best Boy in the World,” which essentially means that in order to deflect attention away from their closeted sexuality, some gay men have overcompensated in their career or in other arenas that award success. Growing up in the Midwest, Buttigieg has explained, made him think that he had to choose between being an elected politician or an out gay person. Unfortunately, unlike me, he never got to meet a summer house full of gay men who didn’t view their gay identity in opposition with their commitment to politics and public life.

Critics of Mayor Pete’s demeanor don’t recognize that his persona reflects the consequence of living in the closet, or “packing away his feelings,” as he put it to The Daily. Despite eventually coming out, getting married, and being the first openly gay man on the Democratic presidential primary stage, the coping mechanisms that he developed from being in the closet did not immediately vanish. When people criticize him for being calculated or robotic, I see the familiar traits of a gay man who had desperately tried to live in both worlds.

Often, homophobia is easy to spot. It’s easy to call it out, for example, when haters refer to Buttigieg as a woman, as they did after Amy Klobuchar jabbed him during Wednesday’s debate by saying that a female mayor would not be on the stage. It’s also readily visible in the realization that the Supreme Court could invalidate Mayor Pete’s marriage even if he were the sitting president.

It’s harder to name the prejudice and discrimination when critics indict Mayor Pete for a deportment that he cultivated in order to survive. During Tuesday’s debate, one critic on Twitter suggested that someone should just give him another Boy Scout badge so he would sit down. But appearing as a Boy Scout was how he likely survived. It’s evidence of how he straddled a painful divide, of how he felt he was forced to choose one career and life over another. When critics make these gibes, they intend to be clever, even humorous—but what they don’t realize is that they are attacking the shields that many gay men have fortified to defend themselves. And when other gay men—ostensibly familiar with best little boys in their own circles—participate in the pile-on, they are unfortunately fueling a slippery kind of homophobia.

While his model of gayness might not be widely familiar, Buttigieg’s Boy Scouting, his default of being the best little boy on the stage, is legitimately queer. If it strikes us as odd, it’s only because we have too narrow a definition of how a gay man can be in the world.

Attacks on his “wonder boy” perfection, his encyclopedic knowledge, and his manner demean him and the many gay men like him—men who marry the first guy they date, who don’t come out till their late 20s, who are socially awkward, who have devoted their lives to work, and whose musical default is not gay pop. Men who, most of all, are raring to discuss politics at any moment, particularly on Sunday morning.

[read in full at Slate.com]

A (Love) Letter to Pete Buttigieg

by Ron Blake – June 26, 2019 (QSaltLake.com)

Here’s a letter to Mayor Pete. This is kind of like the letter that outgoing Presidents leave behind in the Oval Office for the incoming Commander-in-Chief. It’s advice from a guy who has a shared experience with you.

I also grew up in northern Indiana and graduated high school as the All-American guy with good grades, scholarships, and a gregarious personality. I attended the local Catholic Church and was active in the youth group. I returned from college and was quickly elected to my hometown city council.

My family and friends were so proud. I was on my way and was prepared to do what I had always imagined doing. A life of public service to my community and country.

But in 2004, I withdrew my candidacy for County Commissioner. I had a big secret. I am gay. And I was confronted about that. Most of Indiana and the country wasn’t OK with gays in public office back then. I was crushed and confused about my identity. My career was put on hold.

And now 15 years later is where you come in Mayor Pete. Your Presidential campaign brings back memories for not just me; but for all the LGBTQ people before you who never got their chance as candidates because of struggles with sexual orientation.

As your campaign moves forward, you will be challenged to fight by more people along the trail. They won’t care about the issues. Just that you are gay. There will be many moments to fight back.

But please don’t. Anger and hate begets anger and hate. We have too much of that already.

God knows so many of us in the LGBTQ community want so badly to see you in fight mode. We have faced an abundance of abuse over so many decades and centuries. Beatings, bullying, and discrimination. It’s only normal to want you to punch back.

But please don’t. Stay focused on the issues. Society is better when we don’t give in to hate.

Over 72 years ago, Jackie Robinson was the first black player in major league baseball to take the field. There was intense opposition to him being in the game.

Jackie Robinson eventually won over many fans. He was an excellent ball player who helped the Dodgers win numerous pennants and a World Series. There’s nothing like talent and results to get people to forget over time why they dislike you.

Just like Jackie, you have so much talent and many accomplishments. People will see this. You too have the ability to get people to forget why they don’t like you. Just keep being you and keep bringing the results.

You have a lot of folks behind you. Not just from the LGBTQ community. Not just from the Democrats. You have all those individuals who want to see the guy with knowledge and skills overcome hate and anger. The true underdog story. That…that right there…is the America we all love.

I am reminded of a quote from the incomparable artist Frida Kahlo. She said, “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” So that’s where I will leave it Mayor Pete. Keep on painting.

Will Pete Buttigieg be the first gay president? Older LGBTQ Americans celebrate his run

by Elizabeth Weise – Nov 18, 2019 (USAToday.com, abridged)

When Donald Bell was growing up in a small town in Illinois, the only place to get information about being gay was the public library.

“In the Webster’s unabridged dictionary, when you got to the entry for homosexuality there were smudges because a lot of people had been there. The same with the Encyclopedia Britannica entry,” said Bell, 70.

Some years later, when Bell was a college student in the 1960s, being gay was illegal. A dean expelled some of his friends because of their sexual identity. 

Now Pete Buttigieg, an openly gay man, is running for president of the United States and leading in some Democratic primary polls.

In fact, The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll found 25% of Iowa’s likely Democratic caucus-goers said he was their first choice for president, besting rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all of whom were about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Ind., mayor.

The Iowa caucuses are the first in a series of state contests in 2020. Winning the state’s Feb. 3 caucus gives candidates momentum and national attention as they head into the three other early states that precede the huge chunk of delegates at stake on Super Tuesday in March.

For many older gay Americans, Buttigieg’s candidacy is an important moment. Whether or not they support him for president, he represents a new era in sexual freedom and civil rights.

“The fact that Buttigieg is a legitimate candidate makes me feel terrific. But it also reminds of me of what it cost for us to get here,” said Bell, a retired college administrator.

As an African-American, Bell remembers dissolving into tears when he entered the voting booth in 2008 to vote for President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president. 

Something had happened that I never conceived could have happened in my lifetime,” he said. For some LGBTQ people, he expects those same tears should Buttigieg make it to the general election ballot in 2020.

Buttigieg, 37, is a Harvard-educated Rhodes Scholar who was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and served in Afghanistan in 2014. He is a practicing Episcopalian and more moderate than some Democratic hopefuls. He married his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, a junior high school teacher who took his name, in 2018 after the pair dated for three years. 

It’s that combination of attributes – moderate, high-achieving and a person of faith – that makes Buttigieg far more than a one-note candidate.

Mayor Pete’s not running as a gay candidate, he’s embracing who he is in all its dimension, including being an openly gay man who’s married to his husband,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs with the Human Rights Campaign, a LGBTQ civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.

Buttigieg himself says he’s mindful of the example he sets. On his campaign bus last week,  he said he couldn’t imagine what it would have been like for a teenage version of himself to see a viable, “out” candidate for president.

“People – often young people but often people almost my parents’ age also – share with me that they never dared to think something like this was possible,” he said. “It just shows you what representation can do. It’s not the reason for my candidacy. But it certainly has become a reason to make sure we do everything we can to be a good example and to make them proud.”

Every day he’s in the race changes the landscape for every other candidate who’s going to follow him, said Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston who’s now the executive director of the Victory Fund, a political action committee in Washington, D.C., that works to grow the number of openly LGBTQ public officials in the United States. 

To have someone who is so high-profile, so visible, is a game-changer,” Parker said.

Gay rights won through slow gains across USA

Buttigieg isn’t the first major-party presidential candidate who is openly gay. In 2012, longtime political consultant Fred Karger sought the 2012 Republican nomination but failed to gain traction. Buttigieg is the first LGBTQ candidate to be seen as having a potential shot at winning.

His run builds on almost 50 years of LGBTQ political candidates winning, first in local and state elections in the 1970s, then in the U.S. House and multiple recent wins in the U.S. Senate and state governorships, said Marc Stein, a professor of political history at San Francisco State University.

While large portions of the U.S. population will now consider voting for LGBTQ candidates, it’s no accident that the first serious presidential contender is white, male, Midwestern, a veteran, highly educated, married and moderate, Stein said.

“It’s not clear to me that the U.S. public would be prepared to accept and support an openly LGBTQ presidential candidate who was less conventional,” Stein said.

Joe Negrelli, 67, remembers all too well what it was like to be a young gay man in the 1960s. He had stepped out of the Stonewall Inn bar in New York’s Greenwich Village on the night of June 28, 1969, to get a breath of fresh air. He was standing across the street when the police pulled up and raided the bar – and when the gay and lesbian patrons fought back. That night of rioting 50 years ago marked the beginning of a gay activism wave that is still commemorated in June by gay pride parades worldwide.

Negrelli says he couldn’t have imagined what it would be like to even consider a gay candidate back in 1969 when he was still in high school. Even 20 years ago, when Negrelli was the age Buttigieg is now, it would have been inconceivable, he said.

“He’s married. That’s something that only came after a long, hard fight. When I was 37, that wasn’t even an option,” he said.

Negrelli hasn’t yet made up his mind on who’ll get his vote but says he cares more about the issues the candidates stand for than their sexual orientation, and he’d like to see a lesbian or man of color running. 

“But if we need a starting point, then Mayor Pete is a good starting point,” he said.

Eric Temple is head of Lick-Wilmerding, a private high school in San Francisco. Many of his students have a level of comfort and acceptance around sexual and gender identity far different from his experiences growing up, a shift for which he is grateful. It also gives them a different perspective on Buttigieg.

“I love the fact that young people look past core identifies to think more about his positions,” said Temple, 57.

For Temple and his husband, Buttigieg resonates deeply. “Never in my imagination did I ever think an openly gay presidential candidate would garner the national attention he’s garnered. For my generation it’s amazing, it’s really moving,” he said.

Buttigieg’s comfort with himself is part of what’s so important and especially important for young people, said Temple, who describes himself as “all in” for the South Bend mayor.

I hope that people see themselves differently because of how he presents himself. You don’t have to be ashamed, you don’t have to hide, how you are is awesome – and you can be president! – if you want to,” he said.

For Lujira Cooper, 72, a retired fundraiser who now writes novels and teaches writing, one of the best things about Buttigieg is that he’s new to national politics.  

Youth is on his side. It may not be this year, it may not be next year (that he’s elected). But having somebody youthful, energetic and purposeful will eventually resonate. It gets tiring to see the same people run again and again,” she said.

But the fact that he’s gay is also important to her as someone who’s African-American and lesbian.

Being part of a group that has been marginalized makes him more vocal. He can see oppression better than some of the candidates,” she said. 

Then there’s the criticism that Buttigieg is just too mainstream. The Victory Fund’s Parker says she has seen comments on social media that Buttigieg isn’t gay enough – but that misses the point, she says. 

“When Pete stands on the stage and makes an offhand reference to his husband, Chasten, it’s transformative. It’s not waving a rainbow banner in the street, but it has more impact.”

“He’s so matter-of-fact that it almost becomes subversive.”

[read in full at USAToday.com]

Why Pete Buttigieg Matters for Gay America

Running while gay is an uphill battle — a fight Mayor Pete is taking head-on

by Outspoken – Nov 17, 2019 (Medium.com, abridged)

A lot has been said this week about Pete Buttigieg’s unprecedented rise in the Iowa polls. Some see him as an example of the discounted obstacles that female candidates face. Namely that men are judged for their potential, whereas women are judged for accomplishments. There is another side to this story that I ask my straight sisters to consider.

I figured out I was bisexual before I learned to read. It was 1990, I was 3 years old, and was infatuated with the cartoon Jessica Rabbit. I also found pre-school me wanting to be Danny Zuko so it would be me who ended up with Sandy at the end of the movie.

Being queer in rural Minnesota was not an option. My barely on the map hometown was home to a dozen conservative churches. Queer was an insult, an abomination against God. It was something you should never be, and if you were, you should never act on it. My grandmother stopped watching ABC because Ellen DeGeneres came out on national television. Gay people were promiscuous. Marriage was between a man and a woman. Children should have a father and a mother. God did not design gay people because gay people cannot procreate. False beliefs drilled into our heads to ensure we were never encouraged to become gay. As if we had any say on whether we were or not. The result of this brainwashing was shame and fear.

In my third year of college, I watched a documentary about a woman who spent years fighting for custody of her paralyzed wife of 20+ years. Many states at the time, under the Defense Against Marriage Act, did not recognize gay marriage. Inspired, I wrote a short play, entitled STATE LINE, about a Massachusetts woman who got into a car accident in Texas that left her comatose, and her wife’s fight to be with her before her death.

STATE LINE was my first act of protest against a homophobic America where children grow up to be afraid of themselves. From there, I dug into my community’s history: Stonewall and police brutality, the AIDS epidemic, Matthew Shepard, Nazi Germany, Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell, rape in prisons, and the global persecution of the LGBTQ community.

A glance into LGBTQ history will highlight that while Pete receives benefit in the polls from being white and male, he is not privileged to win this election. To say so is a rejection of the gay experience. Until this moment, you could either run for President or be gay. Not both.

There have been a grand total of 25 openly LGBTQ members in Congress, 13 of which were involuntarily outed, came out while serving or came out after leaving office. Which means only 12 Congresspersons in history ran openly queer for their first term, starting with Tammy Baldwin in 1999. The only other person to run for President while gay was Fred Karger, who failed to get the Republican nomination in 2012. The odds are not in a queer person’s favor.

Not to be forgotten, the run itself comes with great personal risk to one’s safety. Harvey Milk, predicting his assassination, famously said in a recorded will, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closest door.” Homophobia is real and can be hateful and violent. In every single oppressive regime in world history, gays have been the target of persecution.

If Pete is elected the 46th President of the United States, it will be the largest step forward for LGBTQ representation in American politics. His presidency will not end homophobia, just as President Barack Obama’s did not end racism. Still, let us all celebrate that he is the frontrunner in Iowa. This Des Moines Register poll tell us one powerful thing: his campaign is opening eyes. Pete Buttigieg is not simply someone to tolerate, he is someone for your children to look up to.

At this moment, we are experiencing a fundamental shift in America. Even if you do not plan to vote for him in the primary, please recognize he stands for something greater than himself.

[read in full at Medium.com]