Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is on course to make history as the first openly gay man to claim victory in Iowa’s presidential caucus.
The state-wide vote to choose a Democratic candidate to run against US President Donald Trump in November’s presidential election has been beset by problems after a “coding error” with an app prevented the results being announced as planned on Monday (3 February).
A final result is still yet to be announced, but Iowa’s Democratic Party said data from 71% of precincts showed Mr Buttigieg was on course for victory with 26.8% of the vote, followed closely by Bernie Sanders on 25.2%, BBC News reports.
Elizabeth Warren was third on 18.4%, Joe Biden fourth on 15.4%, and Amy Klobuchar 12.6%. Other candidates were on 1% or less.
Given that every winner of the Democrats’ Iowa caucus since 2000 has gone on to secure the party’s presidential election nomination, an eventual victory for Buttigieg – who came out in 2015 and married his partner, Chasten, three years later – would represent an exciting breathrough for LGBTQ representation in the highest echelons of US politics.
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However, LGBTQ voters remain highly divided when it comes to the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
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.
“Pete’s rise *is* remarkable”, wrote Eichner, 41, on Tuesday (4 February).
“I know some of you don’t care or don’t think it counts, but history will see it as a rather monumental step forward for the perception of how far an openly gay man can connect on a national level. You don’t have to vote for him to acknowledge that.”
Pete’s rise *is* remarkable. I know some of you don’t care or don’t think it counts, but history will see it as a rather monumental step forward for the perception of how far an openly gay man can connect on a national level. You don’t have to vote for him to acknowledge that.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) February 4, 2020
Ross, who as well as starring in American Horror Story has helped lead the way for transgender representation as part of hit ballroom drama Pose, challenged Eichner’s comments soon after.
Referencing a new video which ses a Buttigieg supporter in Iowa attempt to take back her vote after learning he’s in a same-sex relationship, Ross wrote: “Is Pete all that “openly gay” when white people mistakenly vote for him cause they didn’t know that?”
The 39-year-old actress continued: “Yes of course it’s public knowledge but we all know Pete is selling a respectable type of gay that in the end does us no favors, especially us black lgbtq folks, sex workers, etc.”
Is Pete all that “openly gay” when white people mistakenly vote for him cause they didn’t know that? Yes of course it’s public knowledge but we all know Pete is selling a respectable type of gay that in the end does us no favors, especially us black lgbtq folks, sex workers, etc https://t.co/Y152LTIUX7
— Angelica Ross (@angelicaross) February 5, 2020
Further Democrat caucases and primaries are set to take place in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina this month ahead of ‘Super Tuesday’ on 3 March, when Democrat voters in 15 states cast their votes and a clearer picture of who might be selected to challenge Trump come November will begin to emerge.