At Thursday night’s Democratic primary debate in Houston, Mayor Pete Buttigieg responded to a question to candidates about the most serious professional setbacks they’ve faced by talking about his decision to come out as gay.
Said Buttigieg: “You know, as a military officer serving under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and as an elected official in the state of Indiana when Mike Pence was governor, at a certain point, when it came to professional setbacks, I had to wonder whether just acknowledging who I was, was going to be the ultimate career ending professional setback. I came back from the deployment and realized that you only get to live one life and I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer.”
“So I just came out,” added Buttigieg. “I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be especially because, inconveniently, it was an election year in my socially conservative community. What happened was when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and reelected me with 80% of the vote and what I learned was that trust can be reciprocated and that part of how you can win and deserve to win is to know what’s worth more to you than winning.”
Buttigieg continued: “And I think that’s what we need in the presidency right now. We have to know what we are about. And this election is not about any of us up here. It is not about this president, even though it’s hard to talk of anything else some days. It’s about the people who trust us with their lives, a kid wondering if we’re actually going to make their schools safe when they’ve learned active shooter drills before they’ve learned to read, a generation wondering we will actually get the job done on climate change. And if we hold to that, then it doesn’t matter what happens to each of us professionally. Together, we will win a better era for our country.”