At a campaign rally in Denver, a nine-year-old Pete Buttigieg supporter asked the presidential hopeful to “tell the world I’m gay”.
Zachary Ro, from Lone Tree, was called on stage so Buttigieg could answer directly a question the young fan had written to the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, as he entered the rally.
In front of about 4,000 people, Zachary shook Buttigieg’s hand and gave him a handmade bracelet.
Zachary asked: “Thank you for being so brave. Would you help me tell the world I’m gay, too? I want to be brave like you.”
Zachary, Buttigieg said, did not seem “to need a lot of advice for me on bravery. You seem pretty strong to me.
“It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay,” the candidate continued, “let alone to go out there and tell the world, and to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of 1,000 people, thousands of people you’ve never met that’s really something.”
Buttigieg also told Zachary “a couple things that might be useful”.
“The first thing is that it won’t always be easy, but that’s OK, because you know who you are. And that’s really important, because when you know who you are, you have a center of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you.”
Buttigieg also said: “You’ll never know who’s taking their lead from you, who’s watching you and deciding that they can be a little braver because you have been brave.”
The crowd cheered and someone yelled “Go Zach” before Buttigieg continued.
“When I was trying to figure out who I was,” he said, “I was afraid that who I was might mean that I could never make a difference. And what wound up happening instead is that it’s a huge part of the difference I get to make.
“I never could have seen that coming, and you’ll never know whose life you might be affecting right now, just by standing here. There’s a lot of power in that.”
The two were then joined on stage by Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, who greeted Zachary then walked him off while people in the audience chanted: “Love means love!”
Buttigieg, 38, is currently fifth in the realclearpolitics.com polling average for the Democratic primary field, having placed third in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. He made headlines the previous week, when he hit back at the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who questioned whether Americans were ready to vote for a gay presidential candidate.
Buttigieg said he was “not going to be lectured on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or anybody who supports Donald J Trump as the moral as well as political leader of the United States”.
In an interview with local TV station Fox31 after the Denver rally, Zachary said: “I feel like he gave me some very good advice.”
Zachary told the Colorado Sun he was “kind of nervous, excited, proud” to get advice from the presidential candidate in front of thousands of people.
“I was glad I was able to tell everyone in the audience that I’m gay,” he said.
The post Nine-year-old Buttigieg supporter asks candidate to help ‘tell the world I’m gay’ appeared first on The Guardian.