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Chasten Buttigieg Condemns Anti-Trans Movement, Urges Loud Pride Celebrations

Chasten Buttigieg Condemns Anti-Trans Movement, Urges Loud Pride Celebrations

Chasten Buttigieg

“It’s okay to revel in their misery,” he said of those on the right who oppose LGBTQ+ rights.

Chasten Buttigieg has had it.

Speaking alongside NPR’s Ari Shapiro at an event at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., Thursday at a stop along the book tour for his New York Times best-selling memoir, I Have Something to Tell You–For Young Adults, the author, educator, father of twins, and husband of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told attendees that as Pride Month begins, he is tired of right-wing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. But, Buttigieg said, the best way to go through Pride Month in the face of political challenges is to live proudly and fully, especially this year.

Buttigieg regaled an attentive crowd with anecdotes from his life in an engaging and funny conversation with Shapiro, who shared in banter with Buttigieg in the way that two gay friends would during brunch.

The two entertained the audience by discussing Buttigieg’s obsession with Odyssey of the Mind (or OM), a creative problem-solving contest where team members present their solutions to long-term problems. The student competition involves writing, design, construction, and theatrical performance. It takes many months to complete.

Buttigieg shared that his daughter, Penelope, had her first “Band-Aid requiring boo boo” at daycare recently, which, of course, Shapiro made fun of, saying, “I can’t go two years without a Band-Aid.”

But, as the two discussed the book and lessons from life, Buttigieg became animated about the political moment the country is in at the expense of the LGBTQ+ community.

He said his frustration stems from seeing that people who should be seeking elected office to improve the lives of people are instead attacking a marginalized group and causing controversy where there is none.

“This is what they want. They want to make us feel like we are the minority again; that we should go right back into the closet; that we should stop living our lives openly; that we should stop celebrating our love and our existence,” he said. “But they’re the vocal minority. Unfortunately, some of these people have the microphones and the offices, and the gavels to pass some of these [anti-LGBTQ+] laws, but don’t let them forget that they are in the minority.”

He said that given that the majority of Americans support LGBTQ+ equality, including “a majority of Republicans [who] support LGBTQ+ equality,” members of the community shouldn’t be cowed into hiding this season.

“When you are thinking about [or] when you hear some of these attacks, or you see some of these small-minded people walking through a Target getting offended, do not let them for a second rob you of your joy!” he added emphatically.

“Do not let them rob you of that joy, do not let them for a second make you second guess your existence or the fact that you are a part of the majority,” Buttigieg continued. “Celebrate your love openly and proudly. Hold the hand of the person that you love. Of course, always put your safety first, but don’t you for a second take your kids to the playground and look over your shoulder and wonder if people are looking or not? Let them look! You are happy! Celebrate your happiness. Hold your partner’s hand if it is safe to do so. Because you are happy, you found a person that makes you happy.”

Gesturing at the ring on his finger, Buttigieg smiled and said, “And some of us, gosh darn it, we got to put a ring on them. Celebrate that joy. This is a season for that. We have to remind ourselves that it’s okay to be happy.”

Buttigieg told The Advocate that this moment in time is fraught with bad actors who are taking advantage of the fact that many Americans may think they don’t know a transgender person, and thus, Republicans are falsely defining who trans people are.

At this moment, community members and true allies must speak up and not turn their back on some members of the LGBTQ+ acronym, he said.

“When you hear a comment or a question that’s actually a comment, what do you think about this whole blah blah, blah, blah, that is your opportunity to speak up and to educate somebody,” Buttigieg said.

He says that before that campaign, he didn’t know any transgender people. So he says he sought out people to learn of their experience and understand where they were coming from and their life.

He says that people should be met with information when they display ignorance.

“They’ve never really had the opportunity to learn about trans people or what trans people experience or what gender-affirming care is,” he said. “That is your opportunity, not just your opportunity, [but] your obligation, if you can safely, to have that conversation with somebody because other people’s lives depend on it.”

He continued, “The other side of the aisle is really focused around the trans community right now because of the fact that many other people have never met a trans person or have never thought about trans people existing in this country until some people started making them think about not supporting them. And rather than demonizing people, we should want everyone to just pause and reflect and learn and give [those who have a negative perception of trans people] the opportunity to unlearn some of those things that maybe they picked up on talk radio or some other news channel. Because aren’t we all the better for it?”

He said that knowing the realities of the presidential campaign, “the reality of my existence today, having this platform and the privilege that comes with it would not have been possible had it not been for trans people.”

Recently, some queer people have joined a movement that seeks to remove transgender people from being associated with lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. It’s called the “LGB without T” movement.

Buttigieg also has no time for that kind of bigotry, he said.

“If any person in our community thinks the appropriate thing is to turn their back on trans people, then they are not an ally,” he said. “You are harming people in your own community, and we should find any way possible with our time or our money or our privilege to support people who really need it right now.”

As for Pride Month, Buttigieg told the crowd Thursday to celebrate unapologetically and loudly and to pay no mind to those who oppose the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s okay to revel in their misery,” he said.

Read More: Chasten Buttigieg is on the May-June cover of The Advocate.

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