by Lester Fabian Brathwaite
While most of us can agree on the historical significance of Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, when it comes to the candidate himself… well, the story gets a bit more complicated. In light of that, The Daily Show’s resident gay Jaboukie Young-White sat down with some prospective queer voters to discuss the people’s problem with Pete.
Out of the six voters present, only two plan to vote for Buttigieg in the primary—well, two and a half, since Ken is on the fence. Chamara, who lives in South Bend and works with the local Black Lives Matter chapter, says she doesn’t think she can vote for the town’s former mayor, noting that BLM simply has no trust in him. Meanwhile, Mari says that a cis gay man running for president does nothing for her safety as a trans woman.
Buttigieg’s appeal among queer voters seems dependent largely on, as Young-White’s unofficial poll concludes, the type of gay you are:
Here I thought the Cracker Barrel gays were riding for Liz Warren—hard.
While Buttigieg’s brand of gay—very white, very wholesome, very nonthreatening, very heteronormative—may be what makes him such a popular candidate, it also makes him a lightning rod for the queer community. Questions about whether he’s gay enough have plagued his campaign from its earliest days, though that really comes down to his commitment to LGBTQ issues.
However, for queer people of color, Buttigieg’s gayness (or lack thereof) is often secondary, as he just doesn’t seem to put in enough effort when addressing the question of race.
“I had a face-to-face with him and I asked him, ’What are you doing about the police brutality in Indiana?,’” says Lala, another prospective voter in the segment. “And he kept saying, ’This is what I want you to do—I want you to push me.’ I don’t need to push you. You know what needs to be done.”
Young-White offers plenty of takeaways from this conversation, my personal fave being: “If Buttigieg does not eat his husband’s asshole on live TV, he’s not gay enough for me.” Though that clearly lacks nuance.
But in the end, the gays vote like anybody else. They want to choose a candidate who speaks to their needs and values. Mayor Pete isn’t going to do that for everyone.
Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He’s formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat