The opinion pieces, the social media fracas, the intra-LGBTQ disagreements over Pete Buttigieg and what he meant as a gay presidential candidate have spanned the months of his history-making run for office, which ended on Sunday night.
It has been, simply put, exhausting and not-a-little depressing, with Buttigieg’s candidacy seen in starkly polarized terms: a celebration of progress or an indictment of heteronormativity; a gay man standing on the American national stage, speaking eloquently about his own struggle for self-acceptance, or just another privileged white man able to “pass” without offering much to LGBTQ people who are not what he is perceived to be.
Instead of feeling what it was—momentous, a real moment of gay pride and political change in the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Riots—Buttigieg’s candidacy often felt like a vituperatively disputed LGBTQ cultural flashpoint, a vexed Rubik’s Cube of debates around sexuality and identity with no solution, and lots of flushed cheeks and raised voices.
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