Here’s a question you may be asked: “Is America really ready for a gay president?”
My answer is: “It will be by the time I’m done.”
Raised in a Catholic family, I made the best move when I told my parents I was gay: I got them drunk first. They were staying with me in L. A., and I busted out a couple bottles of Two Buck Chuck. No one in my family says no to Two Buck Chuck. Actually, I do now, because I don’t drink anymore. But that’s a story for the “Recovering Alcoholics for Pete Buttigieg” group.
A few days earlier, I’d told my sister what I was planning. She applied a voice of concern over the phone, and said, “Just be ready for anything, Gary. I don’t know if mom and dad are ready to hear that.”
That knocked me down. I’d had mom and dad’s unconditional love and support from day one. But I knew what awaited me if I didn’t: more of the same. The depression and anxiety, the shame and the hiding. If I didn’t come out, that would become the permanent state of my life, something I would come to accept. Nothing would ever change, and I’d be foolish to hope for change anyway.
The night went as well I as I could have hoped. My coming out to my parents led to a four-hour conversation about sexuality, unconditional love, and family. It ended with all three of us having a deeper understanding of one other.
None of this would have happened if I had not been brave first, stood up and said, “This is what I want. This is the best choice.”
An openly gay presidential candidate will need more than fans with bumper stickers and t-shirts. He will need his supporters to tap a friend on the shoulder and say, “Pete Buttigieg is the most qualified man for the job. He’ll restore respect and decency to the American administration of government, not just in the United States, but around the globe.”
An openly gay presidential candidate will need supporters to show up at rallies, host debate parties, give up parts of their paychecks, knock on doors, make phone calls, and drive voters to the polls.
Most of all, an openly gay candidate will need supporters to stand up and proclaim LOUDLY, “This is what I want. This is the best choice.”
“Is America ready for a gay president?” My advice is to answer, “I don’t know. But I am. Now watch me prove it.”