Openly Gay Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg Met Husband on a Dating App: 'I Could Just Tell He Was Somebody Special'
“Literally, there were fireworks on our first date,” Chasten Buttigieg said last year. “It was kind of ridiculous, I know, but I was hooked"
It was — a cheesier kind of person might say — love at first swipe.
Pete Buttigieg, then the first-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was years away from declaring himself a Democratic candidate for president when he matched on the dating app Hinge with Chasten Glezman, then a master’s student in education living in Chicago.
Three years later and they were married, an occasion marked by The New York Times.
As Buttigieg, 37, recalls on the newest episode of the podcast LGBTQ&A, available on Tuesday on Luminary, he came across his future husband (now Chasten Buttigieg, a middle-school teacher) while “laid up and recovering from an injury.”
It was the summer of 2015, and he is pretty sure he broke the ice.
Chasten, Buttigieg remembers in an interview with host Jeffrey Masters, was “pretty witty.” They talked about Game of Thrones.
“A lot of time is kind of hanging out on my phone, and I just I could just tell by the chatting that he was somebody special and that I wanted to meet him,” Buttigieg says.
Meet they did that August, and Chasten moved in by the end of the following year, according to the Times.
“Literally, there were fireworks on our first date,” Chasten told the paper last year. “It was kind of ridiculous, I know, but I was hooked.”
As Buttigieg remembers it, according to his husband, he was not shy about his political ambitions on that first date.
“He [Chasten] was a little skeptical about getting mixed up with a politician, and he asked, you know, ‘What does your future look like?’ And I told him,” Buttigieg says on LGBTQ&A.
“So he reminds me of that now, and we talk about the crazy life that we have,” he continues, “because I don’t think any of us could’ve guessed even a year and a half ago that this was where life would take us.”
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As one of the few openly gay candidates to ever seek the presidency, Buttigieg joins a crowded field of Democratic politicians hoping to challenge President Donald Trump. Among them are Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Buttigieg has nonetheless quickly received surprising early fundraising and polling.
“It’s important for people to know that we’re in this to win this, and that I see a path,” he tells Masters. “It’s also important for people to know that I’m not stupid. I get the audacity of this. I get where we’re coming from. So of course it’s an underdog project.”
While opinion on LGBTQ rights has undergone a seismic shift in America in the last 15 years, Buttigieg has not been immune to bigotry. (He says he didn’t come out to himself until he was in his 20s: “You’re kind of ready when you’re ready. And it took me a very long time.”)
At an Iowa rally last week, days after officially announcing his candidacy, he was met with anti-gay protestors, “Thank you,” he replied, then told the audience, “The good news is, the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, but the Iowa caucuses are up to you.”
On LGBTQ&A, Masters asks Buttigieg if he believes the country is ready to elect a gay person, especially a country that narrowly elected Trump, who campaigned on inflammatory rhetoric about gender and race.
“We’ve seen it, as you said, especially kind of brought to a head by 2016. But these things need to be tested, because the only way we make progress is to have America rise to one of these tests. And so there is a certain amount of personal risk in being part of the test.
“But the honest answer to your question is that there’s only one way to find out.”