Educator and activist Chasten Buttigieg—the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg—hit back at Fox News personality Tucker Carlson after Carlson claimed that Pete Buttigieg "lied" about being gay while pursuing a political career.
Carlson went on to say that Pete Buttigieg only revealed he was gay when he felt the admission would serve him politically and used it to speak out against LGBTQ+ hatred toward the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado last week.
He claimed that the Transportation Secretary “wouldn’t even admit that he was gay” until just a few years ago, failing to take into account that anti-LGBTQ+ attacks from conservative media—of which Carlson is a part—likely played a factor in Pete Buttigieg's decision to delay coming out publicly.
You can hear what Carlson said in the video below.
Chasten Buttigieg later responded to Carlson's rant, telling CNN that Carlson's rhetoric demonstrates that it is "easy to attack people and to go on your talk show and fire people up about something that’s not actually happening."
He also pointed out that his husband served in the military during "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"—once the official United States policy on military service of non-heterosexual people—and that this environment no doubt made it more difficult for the Transportation Secretary to come out until much later.
You can hear what he said in the video below.
Chasten Buttigieg said:
"My husband served under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' which meant he would have been discharged from the American military had he come out of the closet."
"I know in the clip Tucker Carlson goes on to talk about how it seems my husband wants to talk about identity rather than his job, and I would just love for him to follow Secretary Pete on Twitter. He can follow along with all the things happening in the [Transportation] Department."
“This kind of rhetoric is easy. It’s so easy to attack people and to go on your talk show and fire people up about something that’s not actually happening. I love my husband deeply. I know he's a committed public servant [and] he has everyone's best interest at heart."
"I just think these people, again, with these megaphones they have a big platform, and rather than focusing on real issues, people's lives, making them better, they've decided to focus on hate."
Many have praised him for speaking out and offered their own criticisms of Carlson's rhetoric.
Chasten Buttigieg has remained at the forefront of the battle to preserve rights for LGBTQ+ people since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, imperiling other rulings—like the 2015 same-sex marriage ruling—that hinge on the right to privacy.
Over the summer, for instance, he was praised after pointing out that even though more than two-thirds of the American public support marriage equality, more than three-quarters of House Republicans voted against a measure to protect marriage equality at a time when many feared it would be next on the chopping block after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Chasten Buttigieg has vigorously defended his husband, who is often the target of homophobic attacks, most notably from Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who last spring demanded that the Buttigiegs “stay out of our girls' bathrooms" and suggested that they are both sexual predators. Factcheck: false.