Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg was deeply moved when a young boy asked for his help to come out as gay.
The openly gay Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, took part in an election campaign rally in Denver, Colorado on Saturday.
He was asked several written questions submitted by attendees, which were randomly drawn out of a fishbowl.
One of those chosen was from nine-year-old Zachary Ro. It was read out by Colorado Secretary of State, Jena Grisowld. “Thank you for being so brave. Would you help me tell the world I’m gay, too? I want to be brave like you,” the youngster asked.
“Wow,” said Buttigieg as the crowd chanted “love is love”. Ro was then ushered on stage and shook Buttigieg’s hand.
The presidential candidate told the young fan: “It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, 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 thousands of people you’ve never met… that’s really something.”
Buttigieg said that coming out “won’t always be easy, but that’s okay because you know who you are,” adding that him doing so could well inspire someone else to live their truth and make a difference in the world.
Buttigieg continued: “I think you’ve already got it together, so I’m excited to see what you’re going to do as a leader. Just promise you won’t run for president until after I’m done because I think you might be strong competition.”
Ro, accompanied by his family, later told The Colorado Sun: “It was exciting, and I felt really happy. I was glad I was able to tell everyone in the audience that I’m gay.”
Buttigieg has been with husband Chasten, a junior high school teacher, since 2015 and married since 2018. If he were to be elected president of the US in November, he would not only be the first openly gay American president but also the youngest-ever.