Pete Buttigieg says he understands why some queer people ‘felt empowered’ by not voting for him

Pete Buttigieg and Chasten Buttigieg in GLAAD's Together in Pride livestream

Pete Buttigieg has said he “gets” why he was so viscerally rejected by some queer voters during the Democratic presidential primaries.

It’s fair to say that while Buttigieg shattered barriers for an out Presidential candidate, the former South Bend mayor was not universally embraced with the queer community — attracting a mountain of attacks online from activists, who picked him apart on everything from his conventional marriage to the way he dresses.

On a GLAAD livestream on Sunday, comedian and actor Billy Eichner asked Buttigieg how he felt about the “much younger LGBT+ generation who don’t feel that same sense of connection to you simply because you’re gay, [and] have some pretty intense issues with you”.

Buttigieg, who is 38, explained: “I think our LGBT+ community is going through that generational experience.

“I wonder if for some people it was empowering, in terms of a group that’s so close to the edge in terms of marginalisation, to frankly feel empowered to be queer and to not vote for [the queer candidate].

“One generation’s just astonished that there can even be a candidate who is queer, but I think for some others, it might have felt empowering to be able to be queer and not vote for a candidate who is queer.

“On some level, I get that. I just hope that people can have whatever their political views are and not be mean.”

Billy Eichner quizzed Pete Buttigieg and Chasten Buttigieg on GLAAD's Together in Pride livestream

Billy Eichner quizzed
Pete Buttigieg and Chasten Buttigieg on GLAAD’s Together in Pride livestream

However, the candidate said he did generally get a warm reception from older queer people on the campaign trail.

Buttigieg explained: “People from the older generation would come up to me, they couldn’t form words but they’d tear up and I’d know what it was they were saying.

“It was very humbling to hear that they were moved to think about my candidacy in the context of that struggle, because that’s a struggle I don’t even understand.

“To even be able to do this, for Chasten and me to be married, and for me to be an out candidate, we’re standing on their shoulders.”

Pete Buttigieg’s husband slams trolls: ‘There’s no dialogue happening on Twitter’

His husband Chasten Buttigieg has previously hit out at some of the more ugly Twitter discourse that surrounded the couple on the campaign trail.

Reflecting on it earlier this month, he said: “People could say really, mean, awful, untrue things about you, but they don’t know the first thing about you.

“They don’t know what I went through or what my story was. I reminded myself I’m worthy of love and trying to do my best, and if people don’t like something about my husband, then that’s their prerogative, but I will never look down on myself for not meeting the definition of some gatekeeper somewhere, on am I gay enough, am I not gay enough.”

Chasten Buttigieg added: “The funny thing is, less than 10 per cent of America’s on Twitter, and yet people equate it to the electorate. There’s really no dialogue happening on Twitter.

“People aren’t listening to one another, they’re just there to share their opinion and mostly to yell at one another and cancel one another (…) if you only allow Twitter to define your worldview, you’re missing out, because I met the most beautiful inspiring people around this country who are just committed to doing the work [to help people].”