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Chasten Buttigieg Speaks About Being Homeless at 17

chasten buttigieg

During GLAAD's livestream last night, Pete and Chasten opened up about the importance of LGBTQ centers and their impact on the community. 

GLAAD's "Together in Pride" event brought together an array of queer artists, activists, and allies who raised nearly $250,000 for LGBTQ centers providing crucial resources for the community.

Among them were Pete and Chasten Buttigieg, who phoned in from self-isolation to chat with cohost Billy Eichner.

During the interview, Chasten opened up about running away from home as a teenager and explained how LGBTQ centers today give young people the support he didn't have at the time.

"I remember being 17, sleeping in the back of my car, feeling like nobody believed in me and that there was never going to be a future for me," Chasten said, adding that while on the campaign trail, he and Pete visited several LGBTQ centers.

"There are still over 40 percent of homeless youth in this country who are LGBTQ," Chasten explained. "That was so important for [Pete and me] to go out there, do the work and listen so they actually saw leaders who are committed to telling their story and showing up for them."

"I remember when I came out growing up in northern Michigan I ran away from home and I absolutely felt like nobody understood me," he added. "I would visit these LGBTQ centers. I will never forget at one of these centers I went to, I sat down with a group of young trans people. And they would be like, 'You don't get my story.' And I'd say, 'That's exactly why I'm here. Because it's time we bring your story to Washington and you have leaders in Washington who believe in you and see you.' So I think a large part of leadership is just showing up and shutting up."

When asked about how the 2020 campaign will be impacted by the pandemic, Pete assured that the most important thing right now is connection.

"This is not the first time there's had to be a big change in campaigning," Pete said. "It is the first that it has had to happen so fast. That is why it's so important for us to use digital tools and personal relationships, real-life relationships that may have to happen over long distance, calling or texting or mobilizing in different ways than before, that we can't get together physically. But it is still absolutely critical that we reach out and motivate each other to vote because our rights are up for debate."

Pete also touched on the mixed responses he faced on the trail from older and younger generations of LGBTQ people.

"As for the negativity, part of that is how social media works," Pete explained. "Part of that comes along with politics. And I wonder if for some people it was empowering."

"There's one generation that's astonished there can even be a [gay] candidate and they have the freedom to vote for a candidate who's queer," he said. "For others, it may have been empowering to be able to be queer and not vote for a candidate who is queer. On some level I get that. I just hope that people can have whatever their political views are and not be mean. I don't believe we need to add any more meanness to this world."

Watch the full interview below:

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