Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg broke a number of boundaries this month when he was sworn in as President Joe Biden’s transportation secretary. He grew to become the primary overtly homosexual Cupboard member to win Senate affirmation and the youngest particular person, at 39, to guide the U.S. Division of Transportation.
“You possibly can actually really feel the historical past swirling round us when the vp was swearing me in with my husband, Chasten, at my facet,” Buttigieg stated in an interview with NBC Information’ Snapchat present “Keep Tuned.” Vice President Kamala Harris, like Buttigieg, made political historical past this 12 months: She is the primary girl and first Black and South Asian particular person to carry the nation’s second-highest workplace.
Buttigieg, who served within the navy beneath the “don’t ask, don’t inform” coverage, famous that it was not way back that somebody like him would have been explicitly prohibited from holding any government job.
“There have been instances in dwelling reminiscence the place you could not have any job within the federal authorities in the event you had been homosexual. 1000’s of individuals misplaced their jobs, misplaced their livelihoods due to that form of discrimination,” he stated. “So it is a actually encouraging signal in regards to the change that may occur but in addition a reminder that we have an extended solution to go.”
Along with being open about his sexual orientation and his marriage, Buttigieg can also be identified to talk overtly about his Christian religion. And whereas nearly half of LGBTQ Americans identify as religious, Buttigieg acknowledged that the 2 communities are generally pitted towards one another.
“As a married homosexual man and as a believer, I take into consideration this lots, and generally I do really feel like we have now to kind of defend the LGBTQ group throughout the church,” he stated. “Then once more, there are quite a lot of instances after I really feel like I am defending the church within the LGBTQ group or the progressives — particularly as a result of there are such a lot of folks in our group whose expertise with religion or with faith is one in all exclusion and one in all damage.”
A part of his mission now, he stated, is to carry collectively the religion and LGBTQ communities by sharing an interpretation of scripture that’s extra accepting.
“Ensuring to attach folks with a unique expertise, a extra inclusive imaginative and prescient of what religion could be, I feel that is one thing that could be very a lot alive within the Christian group,” he stated. “On the finish of the day, I imagine that, actually the religion that I subscribe to and the religion custom that I am a part of, is about compassion and love.”
Like all politicians, Buttigieg has his critics, whether or not they take problem together with his job expertise, his age, his sexuality or his religion. In the end, he stated, he’ll be judged on his efficiency — and he’s superb with that.
“The beauty of public service is that you’ve got a chance to ship,” he stated. “Should you do a great job, no person cares how outdated you’re, no person cares in the event you’re homosexual, no person cares about something in your life a lot as you make their lives higher.”