In a recent interview on SiriusXM’s Urban View, Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg discussed a range of topics including the mayor’s work to earn the support of the African-American community.
Pivoting from that subject, host Clay Cane shared that when he had discussed Buttigieg’s candidacy with his straight friends, the majority indicated they could vote for a gay man for president – “A gay man could win.”
But Cane added that when he broached the subject of a gay man winning the White House to his LGBT friends, the response was, according to Cane, “There’s no way a gay man could win.”
Buttigieg responded by pointing to his 80% win in his race for a second term as mayor of South Bend after coming out in a fairly conservative state.
Cane then asked, “How different do you think your candidacy would be if you were more effeminate?”
“I’m sure you’ve heard this before in LGBT circles that more masculine-presenting men have more access?” continued Cane. “How different would it be if you were quote-unquote, “more effeminate?”
Buttigieg, a two-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a military veteran had the right answer.
“It’s tough for me to know, right?” he began. “‘Cause I just am what I am, and, you know, there’s going to be a lot of that. That’s why I can’t even read the LGBT media anymore, because it’s all: ‘Too gay, not gay enough, wrong kind of gay.’”
“All I know is that life became a lot easier when I just started allowing myself to be myself and I’ll let other people write up whether I’m ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’”
Some in the LGBTQ media space have gotten their nose out of joint thinking Buttigieg was taking a swipe directly at them.
Having listened to the entire interview, that’s not what I understood Mayor Pete to be saying.
Cane introduced the question of doubt by the LGBT community with his comment about LGBT friends who can’t imagine a gay man winning the presidency. He then pivoted to the ‘effeminate’ talking point sourcing the issue from ‘LGBT circles.’
As someone who writes in the LGBTQ media space every day, I can’t recall reading an LGBTQ outlet criticizing Buttigieg as “too gay” or “not gay enough.”
There have been gay writers in non-LGBTQ outlets, like the hatchet job by gay author Dale Peck for The New Republic, which was so twisted and controversial it was deletedfrom the website in a day.
There were also pieces written over at Slate and Vice which take Buttigieg to task for his ‘gayness.’ But those outlets are not LGBTQ media.
Of course, I’m already seeing comments on social media saying ‘the LGBT media should stop attacking Mayor Pete.’ I asked a few of those folks for an example of the LGBT media calling Pete ‘not gay enough,’ and each time they referenced the Dale Peck piece, which as mentioned, was not on an LGBT media outlet.
I’m of a mind to believe that Buttigieg misspoke, as a politician can do during an interview, when he used the phrase ‘LGBT media.’
I’ve reached out to the Buttigieg campaign for clarification on the kerfuffle.