Pete Buttigieg is making history as the first openly gay person nominated to a cabinet post as President-elect Joe Biden choice to lead the Transportation Department. (Dec. 16)
PETE BUTTIGIEG: Travel in my mind is synonymous with growth, with adventure, even love, so much so that I proposed to my husband Chasten in an airport terminal. Don't let anybody tell you that O'Hare isn't romantic. And I want to take this chance to thank Chasten for everything that he gives and everything that he sacrifices to support me in public service.
I'm also mindful that the eyes of history are on this appointment, knowing that this is the first time an American president has ever sent an openly LGBTQ cabinet member to the Senate for confirmation. I can remember watching the news, 17 years old in Indiana, seeing a story about an appointee of President Clinton named to be an ambassador attacked and denied a vote in the Senate because he was gay. Ultimately able to serve only by recess appointment.
At the time, I had no aspirations of being appointed by a president to anything. At that age, I was hoping to be an airline pilot. And I was a long way from coming out, even to myself, but still, I watched that story, and I learned something about some of the limits that exist in this country when it comes to who is allowed to belong. But just as important, I saw how those limits could be challenged.
So two decades later, I can't help but think of a 17-year-old somewhere who might be watching us right now, somebody who wonders whether and where they belong in the world or even in their own family. And I'm thinking about the message that today's announcement is sending to them.