Scroll To Top

Pulse Survivor Brandon Wolf Talks New Memoir A Place for Us with Chasten Buttigieg

Pulse Survivor Brandon Wolf Talks New Memoir A Place for Us with Chasten Buttigieg

Brandon Wolf and Chasten Buttigieg

The conversation was funny and personal like his debut book, which comes out on July 2.

Brandon Wolf, press secretary for Equality Florida and a Pulse nightclub shooting survivor, discussed his new memoir, A Place for Us: A Memoir, and the importance of Pride with Chasten Buttigieg on Wednesday at an event hosted by the liberal research group the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

Kicking off the conversation, Buttigieg asked Wolf for his views on the significance of celebrating Pride for the LGBTQ+ community in the current political climate, specifically in Florida, where Wolf lives.

Florida has been at the forefront of the current assault on LGBTQ+ rights as the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, eyes the 2024 GOP nomination for president. More than a year ago, DeSantis signed into law the state's infamous "don't say gay" bill that restricts discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. Since then, the law has been expanded and lawmakers have targeted gender-affirming care as well as drag performances.

Wolf said that being Black and gay was often a challenging and painful journey for him.

“For a lot of my life, I struggled with the idea of having pride in who I was,” Wolf noted. “I spent so much of being a kid being told that the world was never going to be ready for someone like me.”

Brandon Wolf and Chasten Buttigieg

He explained that Pride was personal because growing up in Oregon didn't leave him with a lot of pride as a teen. He was a biracial person with a conservative white father and attended a school where almost nobody looked like him.

“I was always going to have to find a way to assimilate into whatever space I was in,” he said. “To shave off the edges of who I was, to blend in. To be black enough for some spaces and white enough for others, and masculine enough to not be clocked in any space at all. That leaves a young person feeling really isolated, and you feel a lot of things: afraid and alone and sometimes sad if you don’t feel proud of who you are.”

Wolf explained, “It took me a long time to get to a place where I can say I am really proud of who I am.”

He added that Pride is “about a celebration of self [and] a celebration of community. Pride is also a protest. It’s always been a demand for justice for all people, Equality for all people, a world where freedom actually means something.”

Wolf said that Pride is more important now than it has been in years due to today’s political climate when the LGBTQ+ community has become a target of right-wing attacks

“When you show up into a space just being yourself, people say, ‘Well, we want to be careful not to get too political. Don’t talk about who you’re married to. Don’t talk about the journey of that on to find acceptance in your family,’" he said. “We have Pride because we don’t yet have Equality; we have Pride because we don’t have to yet have justice for real freedom in this country. Pride continues to be a demand for those things.”

As Wolf was discussing the fact that corporations wrap themselves in the rainbow logo during Pride Month, Buttigieg interrupted.

“Unless it gets hard,” Buttigieg interjected.

“Unless it gets hard, right,” Wolf said in agreement. “Then it’s like the retail moves to the back of the store, and you don’t talk about it anymore.”

Recently Bud Light and Target faced a fierce backlash from right-wing extremists and conservatives. Some boycotted the beer maker for doing a social media promotion with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. After far-right personalities online focused on Target’s LGBTQ-inclusive collection of products and shared disinformation about them, the company caved and removed many pieces it was selling or moved displays from prominent store locations.

Buttigieg also acknowledged Wolf’s deeply personal stories in A Place for Us.

“One thing I’ve always admired about you from the moment we met is how vulnerable you are,” Buttigieg said. “Whether we’re having a cup of coffee or a drink or whether you’re on national news, you always find a way to bring your experiences in policy to tell your very, very personal stories and effort to connect with other people. This book, it reads like you’re sitting across from Brandon, which I really appreciate.”

Both gay men recently published books, and at one point, Wolf said that he’s the type of person who checks on the reviews for his work, which Buttigieg joked was probably not the best idea.

He asked Wolf why he chose to be so vulnerable in the pages of A Place for Us.

“The answer is really not that complicated,” Wolf responded. “Its authenticity is a superpower, and if you don’t have authentic people doing anything, then you’re never going to win anything. You’re never going to mobilize. People motivate people that want to live in a better world. So for me, authenticity has always been one of the most important traits or qualities to possess, and I chose to be extra vulnerable in this book.”

He added, “I won’t give it all away; you have to read it to find out how, but there’s a lot of stories that I share in this book that I’ve never shared before.”

Brandon wolf signing copies of his memoir

A Place for Us: A Memoir will be available on July 2.

Advocate Magazine - Gio BenitezAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories