Mayor Pete Buttigieg Chats About the Challenges of Growing Up Gay and Finally Finding Love

“I had no idea what it was like to be in love… I realized it was time to come out.”

Candidate Photos/Newscom/ZUMA Press

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Earlier today, we told you about presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg’s appearance in front of a sold-out crowd at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Thursday night. He took the chance to share his plans to bring the rigor of running a small rust-belt town (South Bend, Indiana) to the White House. But there were many more moments from this wide-ranging hour-long chat with Mother Jones Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery that we think are worth highlighting. Here are five clips, including a candid back-and-forth about the challenges of coming out while in office, and what it really takes to beat Trump.

Growing up gay in Indiana

“You think there’s something wrong with you,” Buttigieg says of being in the closet in high school. The 37-year-old mayor stands out for being the first openly gay man to run for president from a major party—his husband is a fun Twitter follow. He spoke in personal detail about growing up gay in rural Indiana, hiding his sexuality while he served in the military, and finding love as an adult. Watch below:

“Mayor Pete”, as he’s known to his constituents, said that even though his electorate trended towards social conservatism, voters overwhelmingly supported his decision to come out. Stay for the kicker of this video:

Taking on Trump

Buttigieg (pron. Boot-edge-edge) relayed several big policy ideas throughout the talk, many of which he shares with other candidates in the crowded field. But Buttigieg said the strength of his ideas, as well as his commitment to addressing why voters went with Trump in the first place, would make him stand out. “A message is something that makes sense no matter who’re you’re running against.”

Day One in the Oval Office

Buttigieg said his top priority would be democratic reform. “Every other issue we face, every policy issue—of which I believe the most urgent is climate—every one of those will not get solved properly as long as our democracy is this twisted,” he said.

Advice to voters

Not without a sense of humor, the Millennial Mayor had some advice for democratic voters at large: “What you want to do is nominate a really forward-thinking…”

For a full, in-depth look at the event, and even more about Mayor Pete, you can check out our longer recap here.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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