Can We Talk About? is a weekly series you must have confused with Miss Rosa Parks.
The 2020 election is still literally hundreds of days away but there’s just no escaping it; this is life now, until the American electorate inevitably devours itself in a Purge-like catharsis next November. And how glorious that will be….
Anyway! Currently keeping the wolves at bay: South Bend, Indiana’s First Gentleman and possibly the nation’s first First Gentleman, Chasten Buttigieg.
A few months ago, those seemingly hastily thrown-together letters held little meaning to anyone outside of South Bend, where Buttigieg’s husband Pete had led the revitalization of the once-struggling Rust Belt town as mayor. But with Mayor Pete’s unlikely ascendance to the national stage as a viable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Mishawaka, Ind. junior high school teacher has found himself in the spotlight.
I’m pretty cool with the youths pic.twitter.com/ThemObCv1s
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chas10Buttigieg) December 7, 2018
And he’s doing amazing, sweetie.
At just 29 years old, Chasten—pronounced Chas-Ten, and not like the divine punishment—has proven that millennials excel at one thing, at the very least: commodifying their personalities and social media presence. Much has been made of his Twitter and Instagram feeds, serving a mix of inspirational messages, 30 Rock gifs, and effortlessly endearing posts that reveal him to be far more relatable than his highly accomplished but admittedly shy husband.
You spelled Beyoncé wrong https://t.co/IdCusEfANc
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chas10Buttigieg) April 18, 2019
Honestly, Phish, Mayor Pete? Ain’t nobody got time for a four-hour inauguration performance.
There have been a handful of truly transformative First Ladies, or Spouses, in American history—Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy, MICHELLE—and Chasten Buttigieg would certainly, by virtue of his gender and sexual orientation, be among them. Having come out at 18 and subsequently leaving home, then cutting his teeth as an advocate for LGBTQ youth, Buttigieg already seems to have a few ideas for a platform as First Gentleman.
View this post on Instagram
In the United States, there are an estimated 500,000 homeless youth, over 40% identify as LGBTQ. Once homeless, LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience violence on the streets, mental health issues, HIV infection, substance use and tragically, suicidal thoughts. Today I was delighted to serve meals at @aliforneycenter which is the nations leading provider of services for these young people. Each year they serve over 170,000 meals. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet some of the young people and tremendous staff there.
Though as gay men, the Buttigiegs have faced unique challenges foreign to other Democratic candidates and their spouses: From protests from religious zealots to accusations of not being gay enough to pieces marveling at how “surprisingly traditional” they are—code for being an acceptable kind of gay.
It’s true, the Buttigiegs are about as nonthreatening you can get when it comes to a potential gay First Couple. They’re both from the Midwest, they are (so far) free from scandal or controversy—hell, their wedding was announced in The New York Times, under the headline: “Pete Buttigieg Might Be President Someday. He’s Already Got the First Man.” And while they’re both white men who may or may not one be representative of the status quo, their very presence on the national stage is a boon for queer people, whose rights and safety are eroded each day by the current administration.
Also, as I said, we’re months away from the Democratic primary and the 2020 election so it would behoove everyone to just chill out a bit and let everyone make their case for the White House. Let’s just hope that case is more than “Beat Donald Trump.” For now, let’s imagine what it might be like to have a sassy First Gentlegay in the White House, tweeting out Liz Lemon gifs, stanning for Beyoncé, uplifting queer kids the nation over, and regularly making speeches like this: