Xtra Weekly
4 min

Xtra Weekly: Who in the world is Mayor Pete?

LGBTQ2 rights, Chick-fil-A, and Shazam! Here’s your Xtra Weekly, April 12

Possible 2020 US presidential candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Credit: Justin Lane/STREPA, Francesca Roh/Xtra

To get Xtra Weekly in your inbox, subscribe here.


Maybe you’ve caught one of his late-night TV appearances, or come across a Buttigieg meme, but who in the world is Mayor Pete, really? Here’s your Xtra primer.

👉Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced his bid for the White House in January. In his statement, Buttigieg, 37, argued that, as a less established candidate, he will be able to bring different ideas to the table. Initially, Buttigieg’s presidential bid was drowned out in a sea of people vying for the Democratic party’s nomination. But things changed when he appeared in a nationally televised town hall where he delivered a series of crowd-pleasing comments attacking the Trump administration that caught the attention of both political commentators and the general public alike. After that, the world seemed to finally take notice of Buttigieg’s presidential campaign.

Here are some quick facts about Mayor Pete 👇

  • His surname is pronounced “BOOT-edge-EDGE.”
  • If elected, he’ll be the first openly gay president of the United States.
  • He came out as gay when he was 33 and got married three years later, in June 2018.
  • He speaks multiple languages, including Spanish, Italian, Norwegian and Arabic.
  • He’s a former US Navy intelligence officer and is a veteran of the Afghan war.
  • He’s left-handed (in case that’s important to you).
  • He’s the son of an immigrant — his father moved to the US from Malta.
  • If his campaign is successful, Buttigieg will be the third mayor — after Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge — to be elected president.
  • His personal memoir, Shortest Way Home, has appeared twice on the New York Times’ hardcover nonfiction best sellers list.
  • Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, are adorable, the internet loves them and they have cute dogs.
  • Everyone is talking about his quick rise to fame — here’s a great in-depth explainer.

What are people saying?

After seeing Buttigieg in last month’s town hall, an Obama campaign veteran, David Axelrod, tweeted about his performance, calling it “crisp, thoughtful and relatable.”

Political analyst Andrew Sullivan also referred to Buttigieg as Trump’s best possible Democratic match because he represents everything that’s different from Trump when it comes to style, generation and background. Conservative author Seth Mendel tweeted about Buttigieg’s demeanour, referring to him as “calm, sane and funny in a sea of performative-anger posers…”

However, some people are wondering . . . is Mayor Pete gay enough?

Earlier this week, Jacob Bacharach wrote an article for Outline detailing how Buttigieg is bad for the gays. He said the problem with the South Bend mayor is that he “might be the most palatable gay man in America.”

In a Slate article, Christina Cauterucci acknowledged that sure, Buttigieg is gay but “he’s also white, male, upper-class, Midwestern, married, Ivy League-educated, and a man of faith.”

She adds, “Buttigieg can be more accurately lumped in with his white male peers than with anyone else.”

Chris Riotta wrote in The Independent that instead of debating on whether Buttigieg is “gay enough,” people should instead “encourage candidates from all walks of life — no matter how diverse, or whether they fail to check off every box in the Oppression Olympics checklist — to enter the fray.” Saying Buttigieg isn’t gay enough, Riotta adds, continues the same vicious cycle that elected Trump. He wrote, “If nothing changes, that cycle will only continue.”

So what’s our favourite take on Mayor Pete?

It comes from Keep It podcast co-host Louis Virtel, who tweeted that Buttigieg seems like “the guy who opens a board game, reads the entire instruction booklet from front to back, and then calmly re-explains the rules 30 times to everyone drunkenly playing along.”

And, it turns out, he is that guy. Our source? His husband, who responded to Virtel’s tweet with, “This is so, so *deep sigh* accurate.”


🌎 Organizers of the Edmonton Pride Festival announced that this year’s event is cancelled. In an email, they said they’re concerned about having a safe and enjoyable event this year. 😔

🌎 After the implementation of the Shariah Penal Code in Brunei last week, what’s the current state of LGBTQ2 rights around the world? Here’s an update. And here’s a list of 70 countries where it’s still illegal to be gay.

🌎 The mysterious Craig and Frank. On the International Day of Pink, a day to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of all forms of discrimination, Ontario Minister of Education Lisa Thompson said that the words “homophobia” and “transphobia” are not in her vocabulary. She followed up by saying she was thinking about her friends “Craig and Frank” and of relationships, not labels.

🌎 Karen’s Karma. Karen Pence accused Pete Buttigieg of using her husband, Mike Pence, to gain notoriety. It didn’t go well for her — the backlash and Twitter dragging were swift.