Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., has drawn notable support from gay voters and donors for his presidential bid. But interviews with a dozen prominent Democrats in the LGBTQ community spotlight a remarkable collision of goals and ideals in the community of lesbian political activists this year. As the 2020 field slowly winnows, people are divided over which glass ceiling to break first.

The majority of the women POLITICO interviewed for this story did not want to speak on the record, citing a desire not to damage Buttigieg’s campaign. But especially when compared with the laborious ascent of Hillary Clinton, Buttigieg’s swift rise in national politics hints of male favoritism, some said. Others applauded his run — but feel more strongly about the need to elect a female president.

“It feels like a slap in the face to just go directly to the white gay guy, when for decades you’ve been trying to elect a woman and it didn’t happen last time,” said one lesbian Democrat who works in national politics. “If Pete Buttigieg is elected it won’t feel like a vindication of Hillary Clinton. If a woman is elected, it will.”