Over 2,000 queer and trans people from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed onto two letters highlighting criticism from the LGBTQIA+ community toward Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. Two autonomous groups, #QueersAgainstPete, a collective of queer people who interrupted a Chicago fundraiser for Buttigieg in January; and Queers Not Here for Mayor Pete, a group of LGBTQ community organizers across the U.S.; have both circulated open letters making the case that the LGBTQIA community deserves better than Pete.
At Friday’s Democratic debate, Buttigeig declared that “we cannot solve the problems before us by looking back.” The groups contend that we must honor the history of LGBTQIA+ communities to move forward equitably, and Buttigieg appears uninterested in doing so. Leaders within LGBTQIA+ communities—especially Black trans women—have worked tirelessly over the past several decades to push movements to value and fight for our full identities and experiences.
“Pete Buttigieg is not a candidate of the future; he erases and mocks the histories and realities of racial, sexual, and gender minorities. The LGBTQ community, like many others, faces racism, homelessness, unemployment, and a lack of adequate healthcare. In rejecting Pete Buttigieg, we don’t seek a nostalgic return to the past but a reminder that our histories persist into our present,” said Yasmin Nair, writer and activist of Chicago, IL ”We cannot solve the problems all of us face if we leave the most vulnerable behind. That’s not ‘looking back.’ It’s making sure everyone moves forward, not just the wealthiest among us.”
In their open letter, #QueersAgainstPete notes that “gaps in Mayor Pete’s platform will fall particularly hard on economically vulnerable LGBTQIA+ communities” from his opposition to Medicare for All and cancelling student debt, to his history of “tearing down hundreds of homes in Black and Latino neighborhoods in South Bend.”
#QueersAgainstPete also highlights Buttigieg’s ongoing failure to address the concerns of Black Lives Matter – South Bend, from their call to create a Citizens Review Board, to their call for Buttigieg’s resignation following Eric Logan’s murder by South Bend police. The letter cites Buttigieg’s failure to commit to a moratorium on deportations or decriminalization border crossing, and his disregard for the voting rights of the over 230,000 queer and trans people who are currently incarcerated. #QueersAgainstPete also stands with Chelsea Manning and criticizes Buttigieg’s stance that she should remain in prison for blowing the whistle.
In an essay, Queers Not Here For Mayor Pete contrasts issues important to the LGBTQIA+ community such as affordable healthcare and housing with Buttigieg’s embrace of donations from Wall Street and billionaires, earning him the nickname #WallStreetPete. In a second essay on his racial justice track record, the group noted the highly disproportionate marijuana arrests of Black people during Buttigieg’s tenure, an issue also raised in Friday’s debate.
Queers Not Here for Mayor Petecompare Buttigieg’s campaign to that of recently-elected out lesbian Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The #StopLightfoot campaign, created by a diverse group of LGBTQ organizers, challenged her record on policing, immigration, housing, and ties to Islamophobia. She has backtracked on many of her more progressive campaign promises, and we are sure Buttigieg would do the same. “Just because someone may share our identity, it does not mean they will show up for the most marginalized and those most in need of attention within our community,” wrote Queers Not Here For Mayor Pete.
“Buttigieg has no record fighting for targeted or marginalized peoples and shows little sign of that changing—he surrounds himself with the likes of Big Pharma, CIA veterans, and billionaires,” said Harper Bishop (he/they), a co-founder of Queers Not Here For Mayor Pete based in Buffalo, NY. “We aren’t homophobic or self-hating. He has been bought-out, and we just don’t see his candidacy as a sign of collective liberation.”
#QueersAgainstPete and Queers Not Here for Mayor Pete are not the first LGTBQIA+ individuals to view Mayor Pete’s campaign with skepticism. A November 25 poll released by Out magazine shows Mayor Pete placing fourth among LGBTQIA+ voters. Jacob Bacharach, Yasmin Nair, Shannon Keating, Max S. Gordon, Rich Benjamin, and George Johnson all published critiques of his campaign from a queer lens. Rather than address concerns being voiced by the LGBTQIA+ community, Mayor Pete has decided to plug his ears. When confronted with criticism from LGBTQ media, Pete said “I can’t even read the LGBT media anymore.”
“Queer and trans people deserve a President who listens to our concerns, not one who runs from them,” said Ian Madrigal (they/them), an organizer with #QueersAgainstPete based in Washington, D.C. “While former Mayor Buttigieg boasts about the historic nature of his campaign, every step along the way, he has made the conscious decision to back policies that harm the very communities he claims to represent. Pete may be queer, but we know he is not here for us.”
#QueersAgainstPete is a collective of queer people against Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy for president. We believe the LGBTQIA+ community deserves better than Pete. Follow @QueersAgnstPete on Twitter.
Queers Not Here for Mayor Pete is a community that believes that the foreparents of LGBTQ liberation set the bar high and Buttigieg’s candidacy doesn’t even come close. Follow Queers Not Here for Mayor Pete on Facebook.