Mayor Pete Buttigieg defended his personal life as “conservative,” arguing many Americans could relate to his lifestyle as a married gay man.
“One of the most conservative things in my life is my family life,” he said. “I have a very kind of ordinary American home life, I got a spouse and a couple of dogs and I think and it’s something that I think that most people can relate to, it’s just that my spouse is a man.”
Buttigieg spoke at length about his personal life during an LGBTQ&A podcast with The Advocate’s Jefferey Masters.
He said he admitted to himself that he was gay in his 20’s, but only told one friend about it because of his career aspirations.
“The two important things in my life by then were public service in Indiana and military service, both of which at that time were completely incompatible with being gay,” he said. “At least we thought.”
He said that the military was filled with “casual homophobia,” as soldiers had conversations about things being “so gay.”
“There’s just a lot of kinda casual homophobia in the way people talked, a lot of it actually probably more unthinking than vicious in its intent,” he said.
Buttigieg agreed with Masters who said that America was “still not a safe place” for queer people, but said his campaign would help bring more Americans to the “right side of history.”
“I find and this is true of a lot of out groups that We’re just worse to people when we regard them as a category, that when we encounter them as people,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, we can awful in person too, but on average, for the most part, it’s harder to hate from up close.
Masters questioned whether Buttigieg should feel safe publicly demonstrating his sexuality, especially in the South.
“Part of what we might be able to do nationally is to help people realize that they are better selves when they are in the process of supporting and honoring who people are as their authentic selves in the queer community,” he said.
Buttigieg said he learned from Obama about running as an unconventional candidate, but said his sexuality would not solely define his run for president.
“I think it’s important to kind of run our own playbook that’s not as the queer candidate, but just as a good candidate that happens to be queer,” he said.