Democratic presidential nominee Pete Buttigeig has spoken candidly to MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow about his coming out story.
Buttigeig, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, officially announced his candidacy for Democratic Party nominee for the 2020 presidential elections earlier this week.
If he were to be successful, he'd make history on a number of fronts, not only as the youngest ever president, but also the first to be openly gay.
On Monday night, he talked to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow about his coming out story. Maddow, 46, prefaced the question by warning the mayor that she had an 'awkward question' for him.
She then explained how she was the first openly gay American Rhodes Scholar in 1995, more than a decade before Buttigieg, gained a similar award. In the interview, she said:
You went through college, and then the Rhodes Scholarship process, and getting the Rhodes Scholarship, and going to work for McKinsey, and joining the navy, and deploying to Afghanistan, and coming home, and running for mayor in your hometown, and getting elected before you came out at the age of 33
Buttigeig was 33 when he went public with his sexuality, something Maddow said would have 'killed' her if she'd been closeted that long.
Speaking to the presenter, he said:
There’s this war that breaks out inside a lot of people when they realise that they might be something they’re afraid of.
It took me a very long time to resolve that. I did make sure, as a kind of final way of coming out to myself, to come out to at least a couple of people in my life before I took office because I knew that I didn’t want to have that psychological pressure of at least not being out to somebody.
He then emphasised that it was serving in Afghanistan that finally pushed him to come out.
You don’t know how long you have on this earth.
And by the time I came back, I realised, ‘I gotta do something.'