News Round-Up: March 16, 2019

Some news items you might have missed:

• Finally, a public bathroom sign (above) that makes sense.

• The Advocate takes a look at newly-announced presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s history on LGBTQ issues.

• GOP Sen. Ted Cruz has been fined $35,000 for failing to disclose $1 million in campaign funds.

• Michael Jackson fans are suing his alleged victims for taking part in the recent HBO documentary Leaving Neverland for sullying the memory of the pop star.

• Having surpassed over 65,000 donors, out White House hopeful Pete Buttigieg has qualified for the 2020 Democratic presidential debates.

• Indie singer/songwriter/producer Lauv (nominated for “Best New Pop Artist at the 2019 iHeart Radio Music Awards) drops his stripped-down video of hit single “i’m so tired…” with Troye Sivan.

Lauv said on the stripped performance, “Troye and I went to Henson Recording Studios to make this acoustic version of ‘i’m so tired…’ and we ended up including the infamous bridge. Also, Troye is an angel…go check it out and enjoy.”

Troye added, “I’ve had the insane joy of playing this song live now for the last few weeks and have never felt a ground swell like this for a song I’m on before. So excited to put out this acoustic version of ‘i’m so tired…’ with Lauv!”

Openly Gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg Definitely Impressed During CNN Town Hall

Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at CNN Town Hall in Austin, TX

Openly gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, appears to be building some momentum in his bid to become the Democratic candidate for president in 2020.

This past weekend, Buttigieg took part in a CNN town hall at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Also taking solo turns on the stage were Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland.

But by many accounts, it was Mayor Pete who found the most traction.

While he isn’t out-polling former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Bernie Sanders, Buttigieg showed he knew how to make the most of an opportunity.

Veteran political expert and chief strategist for the Obama campaigns, David Axelrod, gave Buttigieg high marks and predicted an uptick in his standing among the other candidates.

During his hour onstage, the 37-year-old displayed impressive poise and composure while throwing some shade on the Trump/Pence administration, including his now infamous “cheerleader for the porn star presidency” description of Vice President Mike Pence.

The former Navy intelligence officer and Afghanistan war veteran also took aim at Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, who has defended the invasion of Iraq for years.

Referencing Bolton’s suggestion that the U.S. use military force in the current conflict in Venezuela, Buttigieg replied, “I don’t understand how somebody leading us into the Iraq War is allowed near that situation.”

He also addressed some issues specific to the LGBTQ community.

The two-term mayor reaffirmed his support for the Equality Act, which would bring uniform civil rights protections to LGBTQs across the nation by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to existing civil righs laws.

He also called for an end to the “war on trans Americans.”

“For a transgender teen to get the signal from the White House that the highest officials in the land can’t tell the difference between her and a predator and make it harder for her to go to the bathroom shows you just how out of whack the climate is in our country right now. We’ve got to end the war on trans Americans and we need a federal Equality Act that would say that you cannot be fired just because of who you are or just because you love.”

There was also a fairly innocuous but human moment that occurred when CNN’s Jake Tapper tried to clarify how to pronounce the mayor’s last name.

Noting that Buttigieg’s husband has indicated a slightly different pronunciation (“I don’t want to get in the middle of a marital squabble, but…”), Tapper asked the mayor for the definitive answer.

Buttigieg said his name quickly (which sounded like ‘Booda-judge’) but added that either option worked, and at home, he just goes by “Mayor Pete.”

The day when reporters blithely ask a presidential candidate about daily interactions with his husband has come.

Clearly sensing the appearance had gone well, Buttigieg was the only participant in the town hall to make a direct appeal from the stage for donations to his campaign.

According to CNN, Buttigieg had the single biggest fundraising day of his 2020 campaign after his appearance raising more than $600,000 from over 22,200 donations in the 24 hours after the event.

Out Mayor Pete Buttigieg Shades Mike Pence As ‘Cheerleader For Porn Star Presidency’

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, in the hunt for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Sunday night that he and Vice President Mike Pence (former governor of Indiana) have different views on biblical scripture.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, in the hunt for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Sunday night that he and Vice President Mike Pence (former governor of Indiana) have different views on biblical scripture.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, hosting a town hall in Austin, Texas, asked Buttigieg if Pence would be a better or worse president than Donald Trump.

After several moments of bewilderment, the 37-year-old mayor said that, while he disagreed with Pence ‘ferociously’ on things, he always felt Pence “at least believes in our institutions and he’s not personally corrupt.”

However, Buttigieg wondered aloud, “But then, how could he get onboard with this presidency?”

The openly gay mayor shared that his view of the Bible is based on “protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person – that idea of ‘welcome,’” while Pence’s take on scripture seems to have ”a lot more to do with sexuality and a certain view of rectitude.”

“But, even if you but into that, how could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency?” asked Buttigieg, referencing the allegations that Donald Trump made hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

“Is it that he stopped believing in scripture, when he started believing in Donald Trump? I don’t know. I don’t know.”

The Harvard alum also talked on coming out as gay in his traditionally conservative state.

“Frankly, when I first got into politics, elected politics at the beginning of this decade in Indiana — In Mike Pence’s Indiana — I thought you could either be out or you could be in office, but you couldn’t be both,” Buttigieg said.

“I came out in the middle of a re-election campaign because it was just that time in my life when I had to do that,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “Pence was governor. We weren’t sure what it would do to my political future in a socially conservative community.”

“I wound up getting re-elected with 80 percent of the vote,” he concluded.

Asked how he could be qualified for the White House having never held statewide office, Buttigieg pointed to his resume: “I actually think that experience is one of the best reasons for somebody like me to be in this — I have more years of government experience than the president.”

“I have more years of executive government experience than the Vice President, and more military experience than anyone to walk into that office since George H. W. Bush,” said the former Navy intelligence officer and veteran of the war in Afghanistan. “Experience is what qualifies me to have a seat at this table.”

Podcast: Georgia vs Gays, Billy Porter Slays On The Red Carpet, Terry Crews Calls Kids Of Same-Sex Parents Emotionally ‘Malnourished’

In this episode of The Randy Report podcast:

• Georgia lawmakers look to legalize LGBTQ discrimination

• The United Methodist Church doubles down on anti-LGBTQ animus

• Formerly homeless valedictorian kicked out of his home for being gay is thriving in college, and just landed a Congressional internship. He also set up his own scholarship foundation. Click here for more info.

Pose star Billy Porter brings political discourse to the Oscars’ red carpet

• Out singer/songwriter Kisos shares his ‘five stages of grief’ with “Happily Ever After”

Brooklyn Nine Nine’s Terry Crews got called out for saying kids of same-sex parents will grow up emotionally ‘malnourished’

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report.

I want to send a big shout-out to everyone who’s hit up the podcast over the past couple of years.

It’s amazing to see the growth in numbers of folks discovering the podcast in such an organic manner, and I want to thank everyone for taking a listen and spreading the word about the podcast.

I always look at the podcast as the kind of “LGBTQ catch-up” I would want to hear, with a mix of stories that spans the wide spectrum of political and pop culture news.

I was excited to be contacted by an advertising exec who has a list of clients looking to advertise on the podcast.

!!!

Now, you know, ad execs only show interest when they see an audience they value.

Tip of the hat to all of you 😉

Presidential Hopeful Pete Buttigieg On Whether America Is Ready For A Gay President

Appearing on The View today, presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, was asked the question everyone wants to know: Is America ready for its first gay president?
South Bend Mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg

Appearing on The View today, presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, was asked the question everyone wants to know: Is America ready for its first gay president?

Buttigieg’s answer was perfect.

“Well, there’s only one way to find out,” replied the 37-year-old mayor with a smile.

He continued:

“When I came out it was 2015, I was in the middle of a reelection campaign. I was ready – you know you’re ready when you’re ready? – and I wanted to have a personal life.

“It was not obvious that was going to be a safe thing to do – it was in Indiana, Mike Pence was the governor at the time – and I wound up getting reelected with 80% of the vote.

“So I think people will evaluate you for the job you’re doing.”

Buttigieg also says coming from a different generation isn’t a bad thing, and that he promised his father (who passed away this Sunday) he would make him proud.

Out Mayor Pete Buttigieg Announces Presidential Campaign

In what could be history in the making, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, released a video today announcing he has formed an exploratory committee for president.

It he does run, which seems likely, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate.

He became the youngest person elected to the office of mayor in South Bend at the age of 29 in 2011. He also holds the distinction of being the youngest mayor of an American city with a population of at least 100,000, according to the Washington Post.

He came out in 2015 by penning a personal essay in the South Bend Tribune, just weeks before the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling which made marriage equality the law of the land.

At the time, he wrote, “Being gay has had no bearing on my job performance in business, in the military, or in my current role as mayor.”

“It makes me no better or worse at handling a spreadsheet, a rifle, a committee meeting, or a hiring decision,” he continued. “It doesn’t change how residents can best judge my effectiveness in serving our city: by the progress of our neighborhoods, our economy, and our city services.”

He was re-elected in 2015 with 80% of the vote.

In his announcement video, Buttigieg says, “When I arrived in office at the beginning of this decade, the national press said that our city was dying.”

“People on the outside didn’t believe our city had a future,” he adds. “We propelled our city’s comeback by taking our eyes off the rearview mirror, being honest about change and insisting on a better future.”

“The reality is there’s no going back, and there’s no such thing as ‘again’ in the real world,” says Buttigieg in what seems like a veiled swipe at Donald Trump’s ‘Make American Great Again’ slogan.

The 37-year-old brings more than just youth to the table. The two-term mayor is a former Rhodes scholar who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 2004.

In 2009, he was commissioned as a naval intelligence officer, and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 while serving as mayor.

He was honored with the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work, and remains a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve.

Two years ago, he ran for Chair of the Democratic National Committee helping to build his national profile.

He married his husband, Chasten Glezman, in a private ceremony on June 16, 2108. Glezman is featured in Buttigieg’s announcement video.

He is the youngest person to formally announce an interest in the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.

Pete Buttigieg with husband, Chasten

Out Mayor Of South Bend Considers 2020 White House Run

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (image via Flickr/Edward KimmelCC license)

With the 2018 midterm elections in the rearview mirror, political pundits can’t wait to start wondering aloud who may run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Rep. Beto O’Rourke are just some of the names being floated.

But how about a 36-year-old openly gay mayor from red-state Indiana?

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, now in his second term, has announced he will not seek a third term at the end of 2019.

We keep hearing how voters want a fresh, young voice and a young, progressive mayor from middle America could certainly fit the bill.

Plus, Buttigieg is an Afghanistan veteran, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar.

Not too shabby.

When Adam Wren of Indianapolis Monthly interviewed the mayor, Wren asked straight up if Buttigieg will run for president.

“I don’t know,” was the response.

But considering he trades calls with Biden, has been lauded by former President Barack Obama and keeps counsel with Obama’s former strategist, David Axelrod, it’s very possible Buttigieg might be a dark horse challenger to keep your eye on.

“He speaks the language of the heartland,” Axelrod says. “He is a very gifted guy in a very understated way.”

With no significant national profile, Buttigieg knows the odds are against him. But, perhaps, winning isn’t everything (right now).

From Indianapolis Monthly, which notes his fondness for carnival “claw games:”

Even if he runs in 2020 and loses the Democratic primary, many see him landing a plum cabinet position.

You don’t have to try too hard to imagine the former management consultant running a federal agency like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—or even the vice presidency. Indiana, after all, has produced more of those—six—than any other state except New York, which claims 11. “Any president would benefit from his gifts,” says Axelrod.

Buttigieg is seven years younger than John F. Kennedy was when he became president. If he runs and wins, he’d be 39 when he was inaugurated.

He has an entire political lifetime to win the plush toy of the presidency. There’s time. But you can tell he hears the electronic carnival music of running for national office getting faster in his head.