Pete Nuttigieg, former South Bend Mayor in Indiana, has been sworn in as President Biden’s transportation secretary. He had broken multiple barriers to be in this position.
He is the first openly gay member of the Cabinet that too with the Senate confirmation. Also, he is the youngest person now to lead the United States Department of Transportation. He holds the office at the age of 39.
Buttigieg Made History When Sworn In By Kamala Harris
Buttigieg said in an interview that he could surely see history swirling at that point in time. He was sworn in as the Cabinet member and as secretary to the Department of Transportation when his husband Chasten was standing beside him.
He was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, who herself has made history. She is the first woman and the first Black and South Asian person to become the country’s vice president, holding the second-highest office.
Under the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy, Pete Buttigieg had served in the US military. He said that some time back, it was almost impossible for any openly gay person to hold any position in a government job. They were explicitly prohibited from taking up such a profession.
In the interview, he said that his memory is still fresh with the events when a gay person could not have a federal government job. The discrimination against the community has led thousands of them to lose their jobs and livelihood.
He said that his taking oath as a Cabinet member and holding an important office in the administration is a positive sign and encouraging enough to work for the change that can take place in the society. But it should be kept in mind that still, a long way is ahead.
Not only is he open about his gay status and his marriage, but he is also open about his Christian faith. He is a Christian and said that more than half of the LGBTQ community members are religious. He, however, accepted that many times the two communities are pitted against each other.
Buttigieg said that he is a religious person, and while he accepts to be a gay and that too a married gay, it is a moral duty to defend themselves and the LGBTQ community within the church. But he exclaimed that most of the time, it is the opposite. He ends up defending the church within the LGBTQ community. The main reason behind this is not that the community members are not religious but because their relation with religion and faith is of exclusion. It is the faith and religion that have often hurt their sentiments.
He said that he is willing to bring the two communities, the religion and the LGBTQ, together by sharing an interpretation of the scripture that both can accept.
Buttigieg said that the faith that he believes in and the other faith that he is now a part of are both about compassion and love. If brought together, it can lead to a more inclusive vision about faith.
In politics, everyone has their critics. Be it his age, experience, sexuality or faith; any issues can be taken up. But he said that in the end, he would only be judged by his performance alone, and he is fine with this fact.
He said that the great thing about public service is the opportunity to deliver the best. If the work is good, it is making people’s lives better; then no one will care about your personal choices, age, faith, or anything else related to him. Ultimately, it is the performance at his job that will lead the way ahead.