Secretary Pete Buttigieg Makes History As First Openly LGBTQ, Senate-Confirmed Person to Lead a Department

by HRC Staff

Post submitted by Viet Tran (he/him/they/them), former HRC Press Secretary

The U.S. Senate in a historic and overwhelmingly bipartisan vote confirmed Pete Buttigieg to be Secretary of Transportation. He is the first openly LGBTQ, Secretary or Senate-confirmed person to lead a department and hold a Cabinet-level position.

Congratulations to Secretary Pete Buttigieg on his historic confirmation. This confirmation breaks through a barrier that has existed for too long; where LGBTQ identity served as an impediment to nomination or confirmation at the highest level of government. Let this important moment for our movement serve as a reminder to every LGBTQ young person: you too can serve your country in any capacity you earn the qualifications to hold. President Biden promised to deliver an administration representative of the diversity of this nation, and this confirmation is a significant achievement toward that goal. I look forward to working with Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the entire Biden cabinet.

Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign

In early 2019, Pete Buttigieg was the first openly gay candidate to run for a Democratic presidential nomination, where he became the first openly LGBTQ person of any party to earn a delegate and win a state caucus or primary.

Pete Buttigieg served as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana from 2012-2019. After coming out as gay in 2015, Buttigieg became the first openly LGBTQ executive in the state and the highest elected official in Indiana to come out. In late 2015, he was re-elected to his second term as mayor of South Bend with more than 80 percent of the vote. A champion of LGBTQ equality, Buttigieg helped lead the fight against then-Indiana governor Mike Pence’s efforts to license discrimination against LGBTQ Hoosiers in 2015. Buttigieg is also an outspoken advocate of the Equality Act — critically important, bipartisan legislation that would finally provide clear protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people across the country.

HRC recently released the Blueprint for Positive Change 2020, an important brief that includes 85 individual policy recommendations, reaching across the federal government, aimed at bettering the daily lives of LGBTQ people at home and abroad. Recommendations included ensuring consistent administrative implementation of Bostock v. Clayton County across all agencies enforcing civil rights statutes and provisions and appointing openly-LGBTQ cabinet officials, justices, judges, executive staff and ambassadors.

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