You’d think that the LGBT community would be excited to have a viable gay presidential candidate running in 2020, but … it’s complicated. As Slate first noticed last month, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is gay, but is he queer enough?

Slate noted that he’s white, male, upper-class, Midwestern, married, Ivy League–educated, and a man of faith. But did he ever experience true oppression as a gay man?

Christina Cauterucci, a self-described queer woman, expressed her concerns:

So, is Buttigieg a run-of-the-mill white male candidate, or does his sexuality set him apart? That mammoth question can be broken down into smaller ones that get at why diversity matters: Has Buttigieg faced setbacks or barriers to success because he’s gay? Does he have an identity-specific worldview that would inform his work as much as, say, Harris’ experience as a black woman would inform hers? Would a win for Buttigieg be as historically significant and culturally meaningful as a win for a member of an underrepresented race or gender?

As we said, it’s complicated. He’s gay, but is he just another guy enjoying white privilege?

Slate’s not the only one asking questions. The Outline has a piece entitled, “Why Pete Buttigieg is bad for gays: Mayor Pete might be the most palatable gay man in America. That’s precisely the problem.” Like, does Buttigieg even trawl for gay hookups on Grindr?

Jacob Bacharach explains:

…hooking up is a major constitutive component of a type of unthreatening, socially acceptable, vaguely conservative gay identity that folks like Mayor Pete are aggressively selling to the squares. I have increasingly come to believe that, though perhaps not intentionally, they do so to the detriment of many other gay folk and queer folk and trans folk and folks who just do not — when you put yourself in the mind of a voter with an NPR mug and maybe even an equality sticker on the back of the Volvo — quite look the part.

…in defining himself against it, he sets down some very particular parameters about how he wants to be seen. He wants to define himself as a very specific kind of family man: a veteran, a Christian, and a fierce, married monogamist, in stark moral opposition to the gross, philandering current occupant of the White House. This is probably good politics. I’m not so sure it’s good for the gays.

So, again, Buttigieg is gay, but is he the right gay man at this time?

Keep those hot takes coming right up to the primaries, guys.


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