Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's husband was among those criticizing Ronna McDaniel after she tweeted "Happy #PrideMonth"

By Virginia Chamlee
June 04, 2021 04:16 PM
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Chasten Buttigieg and Ronna McDaniel
From left: Chasten Buttigieg and Ronna McDaniel
| Credit: Matt Baron/Shutterstock; Nick Hagen for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's husband, Chasten Buttigieg, was among those pushing back on the chairwoman of the GOP after she tweeted a pro-Pride Month message this week that critics noted was at odds with the party's priorities.

"Happy #PrideMonth!" Ronna McDaniel wrote on Wednesday. "@GOP is proud to have doubled our LGBTQ support over the last 4 years, and we will continue to grow our big tent by supporting measures that promote fairness and balance protections for LGBTQ Americans and those with deeply held religious beliefs."

In response, Chasten tweeted back to McDaniel: "Those with 'deeply held religious beliefs' are often the parents who force their LGBTQ children out of the home and onto the street. I've met with those kids. 40% of homeless youth in this country are LGBTQ."

He continued: "Re-visit your party's platform before you open your mouth about #pride."

A 31-year-old former middle school teacher, Chasten released a memoir, I Have Something to Tell You, in 2020. The book covers his life before he met Pete and details the challenges of his earlier years, including what he has described as suicidal thoughts and a period of alienation from his parents because he was gay.

"Life can be really muddy and confusing and heartbreaking," he previously told PEOPLE ahead of the memoir's release. "Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and say, 'Yeah, this was rough, and I want you to know that.' "

Other responses to McDaniel's tweet were also critical, accusing her of hypocrisy for tweeting about Pride while her party backs anti-LGBT measures in various states, particularly targeting transgender people.

"Are you serious right now?" wrote one user. "The GOP is actively passing discriminatory laws all over the country."

"How do you feel about the record number of anti-transgender bills your party has been enacting across red states this year?"asked another.

As many social media users pointed out, Republicans are behind a number of recent measures limiting the rights of trans people.

Arkansas recently became the first state to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth, one week before Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed legislation that allows doctors to refuse treatment on the basis of religious or moral objections.

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee signed a ban on transgender athletes into law, and the same happened in Mississippi and Arkansas.

The Alabama Senate approved a bill that would make providing care to trans minors — including gender-affirming surgery, hormones or puberty blockers — a felony. 

Anti-LGBTQ bills are being considered by lawmakers in several other states, according to an itemized list on the ACLU's website.

Pete Buttigieg and Chasten Glezman
Pete (left) and Chasten Buttigieg
| Credit: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty

McDaniel, who has chaired the Republican National Committee since 2017, has faced increased scrutiny in the months following former President Donald Trump's reelection loss and a deadly riot by a group of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol in January.

Despite Trump's historic two impeachments by the House of Representatives, and his loss of both the electoral college and popular vote, he remains robustly popular with the Republican base, with many conservative lawmakers unwilling to denounce his continued attacks on the election (or choosing to downplay the events, in which five people died, entirely).

However, a vocal minority has also emerged: Registration data shows thousands of Republicans have left the party since the riots, with some former and current lawmakers calling for a new party.