Pete Buttigieg has opened up about why he waited until he was 33 to come out.
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.
And while speak at Northeastern University in Boston on Wednesday, he revealed it was when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, after years of trying to come to terms with his sexuality, that he felt the realisation hit home.
Pete Buttigieg (right) wed his husband Chasten Glezman in June 2018
He said: “I was already mayor when I came out. It took me a long time to get there. I’d been dragging my feet on coming out, because my two careers were military and elected office in Indiana, neither of which is super gay-friendly.
“But while I was deployed, I realised that I was in the really humiliating situation where my life could end in my early 30s and I could be a reasonably accomplished person – mayor of a city, grown man, homeowner – and have no idea what it was like to be in love.
“But what I found was that the community was really supportive. I’d be invited on some charity dinner and I’d show up and my date would be a dude, and everyone would get it and then they’d shrug and move on.”