Presidential candidate and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg advised a 9-year-old boy on how to come out to other people as gay at a campaign event Saturday night.
According to The Colorado Sun, the exchange took place at a rally in the town of Aurora, Colorado, on Saturday night. In one of the questions being pulled out of a bowl by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D), Buttigieg was asked by 9-year-old Zachary Ro, “Thank you for being so brave; would you help me tell the world I’m gay too?”
Buttigieg responded to the question by praising the boy saying, “I don’t think you need a lot of advice from me on bravery; you seem pretty strong,” to laughs, cheers and applause from the audience.
“It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone go out there and tell the world,” Buttigieg continued. “And to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of a thousand people, thousands of people you’ve never met, that’s really something.”
The openly gay candidate then proceeded to give the boy advice and encouragement about his decision to go public with the matter.
The first thing is, it won’t always be easy. But that’s okay, because you know who you are and that’s really important.
The second thing I want you to know is that you’ll never know who’s taking their lead from you, who’s watching you and deciding that they can be a little braver because you have been brave.
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.
According to the Colorado Sun report, the crowd chanted “love means love” as the boy was brought to and from the event stage. Griswold also told the newspaper that the question was chosen out of the bowl at random, and that she didn’t know it was going to come up.
After the event, the child told KDVR-TV that he felt “inspired by Pete” and also said that he thought the former mayor “gave me some very good advice.”