Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg advised a nine-year-old boy on how to come out as gay during a campaign town hall in Colorado on Saturday.
During the question and answer period, a campaign volunteer pulled a written question out of a bowl and read it out loud, noting that it was from “Zachery, Age 9.”
“This is a really touching question,” she said. “He says thank you for being so brave. Would you help me tell the world I’m gay too? I want to be brave like you.”
“Wow,” Buttigieg replied as his parents rushed the boy to join Buttigieg on stage. The boy also gave Buttigieg a bracelet, which he immediately put on his wrist.
“I don’t think you need a lot of advice from me on bravery; you seem pretty strong,” he said. “To see you — it took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone to go out there and tell the world.”
Buttigieg praised the boy for being willing to tell the world he was gay at a campaign rally and offered him two pieces of advice.
“It won’t always be easy, but that’s ok because you know who you are,” he said. “And that’s really important because when you know who you are, you have a center of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you.”
He said that the boy’s bravery would inspire others to be brave about their sexuality.
“You never know who’s taking their lead from you, who’s watching you and deciding they can be a little braver because you have been brave,” he said.
Buttigieg recalled that when he was young, he worried that he would never be able to pursue public service.
“I can’t promise you that it won’t always be easy, but I can promise the I’m going to be rooting for you, and there’s a whole bunch of people here that are going to be rooting for you every step of the way,” he said.
He joked that the boy already seemed like a great presidential candidate.
“Just promise to me that you won’t run for president until after I’m done because I think you’ll be strong competition,” he said.
Buttigieg’s husband Chasten also rushed on stage and patted the boy on the shoulder.
“I’m so proud of you, that’s incredible. Thank you for coming,”
Chasten brought a challenge coin to his husband and he gave it to the boy.
The crowd responded by shouting, “Love is love!” as the event continued.
One reporter questioned the boy after the event.
“I just feel inspired by Pete being openly gay and running for president at the same time, and someday I want to be like him,” he said.
— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) February 23, 2020