Monday, April 8, 2019

Pete Buttigieg on being gay
and being married

Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, addressing the LGBTQ Victory Fund brunch in Washington, D.C., this past Sunday:

“When I was younger, I would have done anything to not be gay. When I began to halfway realize what it meant that I felt the way I did about people I saw in the hallway at school or the dining hall in college, it launched in me something I can only describe as a kind of war. And if that war had been settled on the terms that I would have wished for when I was fifteen, or twenty, or, frankly, even twenty-five, I would not be standing here. If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would’ve swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water. It is a hard thing to think about now. It’s hard to face the truth that there were times in my life when, if you had shown me exactly what it was inside me that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.

“And the reason it’s so awful to think about isn’t just the knowledge that so many young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality or their gender identity do just that — they harm themselves, figuratively or literally. But the real reason that it’s so hard to think about is that if I had had the chance to do that, I would never have found my way to Chasten [Chasten Glezman, Buttigieg’s husband]. That the best thing in my life, my marriage, might not have happened at all. My marriage, this thing I can’t even describe without going into clichés, like talking about how my world went from black and white to color the moment we held hands toward the end of our first date. The thing that made it possible for me to get through the loss of my father this year, this man who lifted up not just me but dad and mom through those last awful days. How dark the thought that the man that I admire and care about and love sharing with the rest of the country, and even more importantly, can’t wait to share one day with raising children, might not have been part of my life at all. Thank God there was no pill. Thank God there was no knife.

”People talk about things like marriage equality as a moral issue. And it is certainly a moral issue as far as I’m concerned. It’s a moral issue because being married to Chasten has made me a better human being, because it has made me more compassionate, more understanding, more self-aware, and more decent. My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.

“And speaking only for myself, I can tell you that if me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
[My transcription and paragraphing. The passage I’ve transcribed begins at 8:35.]

comments: 2

Fresca said...

I was thinking this could be a candidate for How to Write Better, but it winds up with such a clear punch of a sentence, I wouldn't even want to clean up the wandering stuff that comes before.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, there are some wobbly sentences in there (esp. the one beginning “How dark”). I was tempted to type out shorter snippets (cable news has now reduced this passage to a few sentences), but the whole passage has much greater force.

An earlier part that I didn't type: he says that he knew that after coming back from fighting in Afghanistan, he had to come out. Take that, Cadet Bone Spurs.