Buttigieg drops out amid comments about homosexuality

Last Monday, at a town hall event in South Carolina, former Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg recalled a time in his life where he would have taken “a pill” to be straight rather than gay. The misinterpreted perception of his sexual orientation could pose the reason for the candidate’s withdrawal from the presidential race due to the varied reactions his comments incited. 

At the CNN covered forum, Buttigieg revealed that he struggled with his sexual orientation well into his twenties. Buttigieg said, “If there was a pill, a pill that I could take and not be gay anymore, then I would’ve jumped on it.” Buttigieg’s obvious pause after the word “pill” followed by an innocent yet vulnerable facial expression reveals the depth to which he struggled with the fact that he is gay.

Buttigieg’s statement about his desperation to be straight may have damaged his reputation among the gay community. Several viewers attacked Buttigieg on Twitter: One user said, “That just sends the message that Pete is ashamed of his homosexuality which is not a good message.” Despite his intention to be fully transparent with his audience, many people were clearly taken aback by this comment. 

In expressing how difficult it can be to be unapologetically yourself in this society, many people may now be thinking that Buttigieg could be discouraging those to be upfront about their sexual orientation. Specifically, those who are just starting to grapple with their own sexual identity could be very impacted by the mayor’s former outlook.

On the other hand, many perceived Buttigieg’s blatant honesty about his journey with his sexual orientation to be positive. 

In being completely thorough and transparent in the most public of ways, Buttigieg told his truth which is one many gay people can relate to. This could have been a source of leverage for his political campaign. 

Buttigieg ultimately provides comfort for people who want to come out.

At the CNN sponsored assembly, Buttigieg reflected on a recent encounter at a Colorado campaign event where a 9-year-old boy asked him for advice on “how to be brave in telling others that he is gay.”

Buttigieg said that he responded similarly to, “If you’re a 9-year-old asking that publicly around thousands of people, you don't need any lessons from me on bravery,” according to CNN.

While Buttigieg faced viewers more raw than ever and revealed that he himself was not brave, his campaign has obviously given others strength that he wasn’t fortunate enough to possess.

He acknowledges that although “coming out” can be a steep journey, one can get through it and evidently be who they want to be in this world, as he was running for presidential democratic candidate. 

He also comes to show that this journey is worth it in his opinion. He expresses his gratitude toward his relationship with his husband. He said, in relation to the pill he wished to take, “And thank God I didn’t because then I would not have the amazing marriage I have with Chasten.”

Although his controversial comment can be taken in a negative context, it is clear Buttigieg’s intent was to help those who struggle with being themselves in an extremely critical society, and encourage them not to be fearful of expressing themselves. 

Due to Buttigieg’s recent dropout from the presidential race after Joe Biden’s triumphant victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, depending on whether people fully evaluated his intentions could have been the determining factor of whether his controversial comments led to his campaign’s fateful demise.

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