The Post did a piece today on Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Pete, in the Style section. He’s a fun follow on Twitter, and I’ve seen a couple of clips of him on TV, where he comes across as witty and sweet. I wouldn’t have guessed Chasten had such a hardscrabble life growing up as the youngest of three brothers in a low-income family in Traverse City, Michigan:
The older boys, Rhyan and Dustin, were athletes and hunters. While they were out chopping wood with their dad, Chasten says, “I would be inside reading Harry Potter or singing Celine Dion at the top of my lungs while my mom and I were dusting the cabinets.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that parents who would spell “Ryan” with an “h” weren’t consciously making a statement by naming their youngest “Chasten.” Is that mean? Maybe. I don’t intend it that way, FWIW.
Anyhoo, the article describes family turmoil when Chasten came out. His parents weren’t accepting at first, but they eventually came around, so much so that they gave him away at his wedding. The brothers never reconciled. One is now a preacher and says he doesn’t agree with his youngest brother’s “lifestyle.” (Fuck that guy!)
The article recounts how Chasten eventually fled his hometown and went to college to study theater, sometimes sleeping in his car as a homeless student. After getting a degree, he worked as a teacher at a drama academy, but since the job didn’t offer benefits, he moonlighted as a Starbucks barista. How very millennial! The Post again:
When he was growing up, Chasten knew politics mainly as “the thing that made life harder.” In 2006, when he was in high school, only 43 percent of respondents to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll said they were either comfortable with or enthusiastic about the idea of a gay presidential candidate. When pollsters asked a similar question this year, the number was 68 percent. That doesn’t mean America will elect a gay president in 2020, but it’s no longer outlandish to picture Chasten in the East Wing.
You spelled Beyoncé wrong https://t.co/IdCusEfANc
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chas10Buttigieg) April 18, 2019
Although I like him just fine, Pete Buttigieg isn’t my top choice for the nomination. That said, it’s a huge deal that a gay man is a serious contender for the office and that his husband gets the Post Style section treatment.
Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly depressed about the state of things in this country, I remind myself how much progress we’ve made, just in my lifetime, including on gay rights. Makes me proud to be a Democrat!