Pete Buttigieg will be first gay man ever nominated to the Cabinet


President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Buttigieg to lead the Department of Transportation.

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is expected to be nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as secretary for the Department of Transportation, according to several news outlets, including the Associated Press, CNN, and the Washington Post.

This makes Buttigieg the first openly LGBTQ person to be nominated for a position in a White House Cabinet. The LGBTQ Victory Institute, which aims to get more LGBTQ people into politics, celebrated the historic decision.

Buttigieg's nomination is a "milestone in a decades-long effort to ensure LGBTQ people are represented throughout our government," said Annise Parker, the group's president and CEO, in a statement.

"It distances our nation from a troubled legacy of barring out LGBTQ people from government positions and moves us closer to the President-elect’s vision of a government that reflects America," she added. "As an out LGBTQ person, Pete will bring a unique perspective that will inform and influence policy throughout the federal government."

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN), the first lesbian mother elected to Congress, tweeted in support of Buttigieg's nomination and said she was "thrilled that @JoeBiden has made LGBTQ representation in his Cabinet a top priority." 

Brad Hoylman, a Democratic New York state senator, who is openly gay, called Biden's decision a "milestone for equality."

Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, tweeted that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris "are keeping their promise & taking a significant step to create an administration that better reflects the diversity of our nation."

During the campaign, Biden promised to make protecting LGBTQ rights a "top" priority in his first 100 days in office.

"To achieve our vision of equality, I will make enactment of the Equality Act a top legislative priority during my first 100 days — a priority that Donald Trump opposes," he said.

He also hired a number of openly LGBTQ people to serve on his transition team after winning the election — a step toward his promise to create an administration that will reflect the diversity of the American people.

It's a great departure from Donald Trump's administration, which has pursued aggressively anti-LGBTQ policies over the last four years.

Trump did choose Richard Grenell, who is openly gay, to serve as acting director of National Intelligence, a position he held for a few months. Republicans and the Trump campaign frequently touted Trump's decision, since it made Grenell the first gay man to hold a Cabinet-level position, even though Grenell was never confirmed to the Senate and only stayed in the position temporarily.

Grenell, who led the Trump campaign's co-called LGBTQ outreach efforts, gave Trump's decision to choose him for the role as evidence of Trump's advocacy for LGBTQ people in a video for the Log Cabin Republicans released in August.

However, Grenell's campaigning and other LGBTQ outreach efforts failed to persuade LGBTQ voters to support Trump's campaign.

LGBTQ groups still hope to see more representation in the Biden administration. The LGBTQ Victory Institute would like to Biden to appoint openly LGBTQ women ambassadors, LGBTQ ambassadors of color, and transgender ambassadors of color. It is hoping Biden will nominate an openly LGBTQ U.S. Supreme Court justice and that all LGBTQ presidential appointees "reflect the full diversity of the LGBTQ community."

It would like to see representation that meets the 4.5% of LGBTQ people in the nation, which would that 185 of the 4,1000 presidential appointees would be LGBTQ.

David of the Human Rights Campaign tweeted further in response to the expected nomination of Buttigieg, "We have & will continue to engage with the Transition team to ensure that LGBTQ people will be appointed at all levels of government & that those appointments will reflect the full diversity of our community, including LGBTQ people of color, trans & gender non-conforming people."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.