He has weathered complaints, even derision, from L.G.B.T.Q. progressives, many of whom say he’s not gay enough, his manner and mannerisms too strait-laced, his policy preoccupations too moderate, his success infuriatingly reflective of how readily and well he assimilates into heterosexual America. “Gays Seem to Be Mayor Pete’s Worst Critics” was the headline of a column in The Washington Blade, an L.G.B.T.Q. publication.
That saddens me. As I’ve written before, part of what so many gay people have fought so hard for is the recognition that we don’t fit into tidy boxes, otherwise known as stereotypes — not sartorially, not ideologically. Absolutely disagree with Buttigieg’s opposition to “Medicare for all” if you have a different view, but don’t suggest that he should support it because he’s gay. Yawn at all those perfectly pressed white dress shirts that he wears, but don’t cast them as a betrayal.
And don’t say that by discussing his own Christianity, he’s consorting with the enemy. Yes, religion has been used cruelly against L.G.B.T.Q. people. But one of the most profound dimensions of Buttigieg’s candidacy is how he has turned that around, for instance asserting that his marriage to his husband, Chasten, has brought him “closer to God.”