Pete Buttigieg calls out cowardly politicians ‘picking on’ trans kids to win votes

Maggie Baska July 6, 2021
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Pete Buttigieg

US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks during the daily White House briefing on 12 May 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Pete Buttigieg has called out politicians who think it is “good politics” to “pick on” trans kids.

Buttigieg, who is America’s first out gay Senate-confirmed cabinet member, appeared on The Late Night with Stephen Colbert to talk about the White House’s recent Pride event.

He said he wanted to convey to the people gathered at the White House event just how far LGBT+ rights have come “in a short amount of time”.

“It wasn’t that long ago, if you look at the ’50s, there was a historical episode called the Lavender Scare,” Buttigieg explained. “You couldn’t even be a bookkeeper or an astronomer in the federal government without your job being at risk if you were gay.”

Despite advances in LGBT+ rights in the US, Pete Buttigieg stressed there is still a “far” way to go.

He spoke out against the record-breaking number of anti-trans bills making their way through state legislatures and the politicians behind them.

“As we speak in states around the country, there are politicians who’ve decided it’s good politics to attack transgender kids, which are some of the more vulnerable people in our society,” Buttigieg said.

He continued: “High school is terrifying when you’re transgender. High school is terrifying when you’re not transgender, right?

“And these kids have the courage to be who they are, and they just want to be accepted, go to the bathroom like everybody else and play sports like everybody else and live.”

Pete and Chasten Buttigieg waving
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (L) and his husband Chasten Buttigieg (R) wave during a campaign town hall event at Washington Liberty High School 23 February 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Buttigieg said the “really dangerous thing” is to have people in “positions of responsibility” spouting the belief that “transgender people don’t exist”.

Some young people will “hear that message as one that transgender people shouldn’t exist” and “believe it”, he explained.

Pete Buttigieg told Stephen Cobert he hopes it will “prove not to be good politics to pick on transgender kids” when “these political attacks and laws get beaten back”.

Former president Barack Obama has also spoken out against the targeted wave of anti-trans legislation in the US. He told the Advocate that such attacks break his heart, because it is “not who we are”.

“America has always been at its best when we open our arms wider and help more people feel like they belong – not treat them like second-class citizens because they’re different,” Obama said.

Related topics: anti-trans bills, Pete Buttigieg

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