Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of South Bend mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, spoke at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Houston, Texas on Saturday night.
“So I’ve had a busy couple months,” Buttigieg began. “Never underestimate what can happen when you agree to go on a date with a cute guy from South Bend, Indiana.”
“I now live in a world where people take photos of me in the deodorant aisle at the grocery store,” he added. “But it is not lost on me that I was able to marry the man I love by the grace of one Supreme Court vote.”
Buttigieg then joked about the historic nature of his position, drawing cheers: “I could be the first man in history to pick out the White House china.”
Buttigieg said that he moved out of his home in Traverse City, Michigan shortly after coming out to his parents.
“Eventually, I thought to myself, ‘I can’t be here any more.’ So I moved out, without a plan. I was scared, living between my car and friends’ couches.”
Buttigieg, who said he’s since developed a good relationship with his parents, talked about finding community, and a teacher who saved him by allowing him to sleep in the school auditorium when he needed to. That teacher inspired Buttigieg to become a teacher himself, he said.
Buttigieg talked about the importance of passing the Equality Act, which would enshrine LGBTQ protections in the Constitution under existing civil rights laws, and praised HRC for the work it has done over the years.
“We need someone in the White House who will sign the Equality Act into law, and luckily I know a guy,” he said.
“My husband Pete Buttigieg – you can call him Mayor Pete – was commissioned as a naval intelligence officer when ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was still the law of the land,” he continued. “And served a seven month tour in Afghanistan when a certain vice president was governor of his home state.”
“Peter is ready to serve our country in the highest office, and just as importantly I think America is ready for him,” Buttigieg added.
“Over the last three months of traveling the country at his side, meeting people from all walks of life, we have discovered that people are united in protecting our values of freedom, Democracy and security. Especially freedom to live an authentic life regardless of who you love or how you identify.”