Pete Buttigieg doesn’t want to be the president of the ‘gay United States’

Democratic presidential hopeful former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Democratic Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has said he is not running to be “the gay president”.

In a CNN town hall on Monday, out host Don Lemon reflected on the candidate’s interaction with a nine-year-old boy who identifies as gay on the campaign trail.

Lemon asked: “Did you see yourself in that nine-year-old boy? Were you holding back tears? Because I’m always inspired when people come up to me as a gay man and say, ‘You inspire me,’ I’m always taken aback by that. What was that like for you?”

Pete Buttigieg: I’m not running to be ‘gay president’.

Buttigieg responded: “It was really emotional, and also extraordinary. I meet people who have such a sense of who they are, so much earlier in life than I did.

“I was wrestling with this well into my 20s. If there was a pill that I could take and not be gay any more, I would have jumped on it. Thank God I didn’t, because I would not have the amazing marriage that I have now to Chasten.

“When I think about the effect that this campaign may be having on people… I’m not running to be the gay president of the United States, or the president of the gay United States – I’m out here to serve everybody.

“But I do think about the fact that this very thing, that I thought might mean I would never get to make a difference, never get to serve in a uniform or in office… talk about God having a sense of humour, that this is one of the things that is actually helping me make a difference before we even know the outcome of the campaign.”

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Gay kid ‘doesn’t need lessons’ on bravery.

Of the exchange, Buttigieg said: “If you’re a 9-year-old asking that publicly around thousands of people, you don’t need any lessons from me on bravery.

“And that’s more or less what I told him, although I gave him the best advice that I could for the future, which is mainly just to let him know that even if it’s not always easy, that I was going to be rooting for him and other people were, too.”

He continued: “There have been so many moments like that. Whether it’s a young person who is wondering where they fit, and this campaign sends a signal to them that they belong,” he said.

“Or people I meet sometimes who are my parents’ age who come up to me, sometimes with tears in their eyes, to let me know they never thought this day would come, that this would even be possible, and that whole thing makes me hopeful.

“I’m under no illusions about the future of the struggle for equality… but what gives me hope is it really is possible to see those prejudices overcome.”