Words: Steve Brown
A nine-year-old boy asked Pete Buttigieg if he can help him ‘tell the world’ he is gay.
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, the Indiana-born politician came out publicly as gay in 2015, ten days before the Supreme Court's historic ruling on marriage equality, writing that "at a moment like this, being more open about it could do some good."
He began dating his husband, teacher Chasten Glezman, just two months later. The pair announced their engagement in 2017 before marrying in South Bend in June 2018.
Last April, Mayor Pete launched his 2020 Presidential campaign and is a breakout candidate.
And now over the weekend, Mayor Pete shared an emotional moment with a young supporter while in Denver, CNN reported.
The nine-year-old boy Zachary Ro wrote a question submitted via fishbowl during the rally in Denver on Saturday.
Zachary wrote: “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 young boy attended the rally with his parents and joined the presidential candidate on stage where Mayor Pete told him: “" don't think you 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, 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, that's really something.
"The first thing is that it won't always be easy, but that's okay, because you know who you are.
“And that's really important, because when you know who you are, you have a centre of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you.
"When I was trying to figure out who I was, 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.”
Many have criticised the 38-year-old's position as a centrist candiate who's had less to say on LGBTQ issues during the campaign than heterosexual rivals such as Elizabeth Warren, who's led the way on issues including greater access to healthcare and ending the epidemic of violence against black trans women.
As the Democratic race heats up, it's an issue that's set to cause increasing conflict within the community - and LGBTQ stars including American Horror Story's Billy Eichner and Angelica Ross have already been debating Mr Buttigieg's merits and shortcomings on Twitter in the wake of the latest news from Iowa.