Pete Buttigieg told his coming-out story in his closing remarks during the third Democratic debate on Thursday, a moment that many felt was emblematic of how far the US has come on LGBTQ rights.
For the closing remarks, all of the candidates were asked to describe a time of personal resilience in their lives.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and a former intelligence officer in the US Navy Reserves, said, “I came back from the deployment and realized that you only get to live one life, and I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer, so I just came out,” he said.
“I had to wonder if just acknowledging who I was was gonna be the ultimate, career-ending political setback.”
Instead, he said, his community trusted him, and he was reelected.
“What I learned was that … part of how you can win and deserve to win is to know what’s worth more to you than winning,” he said.
Many people online, regardless of their politics or which candidate they support, pointed out that a candidate talking about coming out so candidly was an important moment.
They respected his honesty.
Some shared their stories as well.
Many called the moment historic.
“This would have been unfathomable just a few years ago,” one said.