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Chasten Buttigieg Slams Republicans in Emotional Reaction to Question About Book Bans

Chasten Buttigieg Slams Republicans in Emotional Reaction to Question About Book Bans

David Begnaud and Chasten Buttigieg

While he was speaking with CBS News correspondent David Begnaud at the National Book Festival, Buttigieg reflected on the political motivation behind Republican book bans.

Chasten Buttigieg gave a book talk with CBS News correspondent David Begnaud at the Library of Congress 2023 National Book Festival on Saturday in Washington, D.C. that saw a full house.

Thousands of book lovers visited the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to peruse the latest fiction and nonfiction. They also got their hard copies signed and heard authors speak about their experiences. According to a Library of Congress spokesperson, more than 1,100 people gathered at the Inspiration Stage to listen to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s husband discuss his original memoir’s adaptation, I Have Something to Tell You: For Young Adults.

Throughout the text, Buttigieg discusses growing up in a conservative town in Michigan, Traverse City, as a gay kid who knew no other gay people and struggled with his identity. He explains how he came out to his parents in a letter he handed his mother as he ran away from home and that after he returned home, he struggled with talking to his grandmother about his secret in fear of her reaction.

Buttigieg’s mother, Sherri Glezman, sat in the first row proudly listening to her son discuss his childhood and writing process.

At one point, Glezman reacted from the audience, saying that a book like her son’s would have been valuable to her when he was growing up and coming out.

Begnaud asked Buttigieg, as an author, to consider this political moment when Republicans are going around the country banning books and topics of conversation in schools through legislation.

“Do you think your book will be banned?” asked Begnaud.

“I mean, it’s a completely age-appropriate book,” Buttigieg noted as he began answering the question.

2023 National Book Festival - Inspiration

“I’m a teacher and a dad, and so I know my audience,” he said, adding that if somebody did challenge the book, it would be out of political motivation and nothing more.

The father of two-year-olds took a moment to gather his thoughts and appeared to fight back emotions as he considered the political moment the country finds itself in.

“What’s happening right now is it is not about books. It’s just about using the LGBTQ community as a scapegoat for an entire political party that has lost its mooring,” he said. “They have no idea.”

Buttigieg added, “These are people who say they care about protecting our kids, and so they go after the most vulnerable kids in America. And if you say that you care about protecting children and you won’t raise a finger on gun violence, the number one cause of death among young people in this country, then your priorities are way out of whack.”

Buttigieg has been on a nationwide tour promoting the book. He said that in that time, he’s talked with dozens of young people to get their thoughts on life.

“I have been to over 35 cities with this book this year, and [in] almost every city, I have an opportunity to sit down with students in that city and talk about what matters most to them,” Buttigieg said. “And every single place I go, whether it’s Texas, Florida (heard of her?), Missouri, Tennessee, [or] anywhere I go, the number one topic on their minds is gun safety. It’s not about LGBTQ people. But [Republicans] have found something that works. They threw everything at the wall. They wanted to see what would stick, and it’s attacking LGBTQ people.”

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