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Report: Excitement for Openly Gay Presidential Hopeful Galvanizes Hollywood

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Apr 23, 2019

The Hollywood Reporter has broken the news that a host of Hollywood's powerhouse gay A-listers are ready to throw their support to the candidacy of openly gay 2020 hopeful Pete Buttigieg, with none other than Ryan Murphy — of "American Horror Story," "Glee," and "Pose" fame — planning to host the candidate for a June fundraiser at the home Murphy shares with his husband, David Miller.

The fundraising event has attracted support from many of Tinseltown's other foremost openly gay powerhouse stars from before and behind the cameras, the Hollywood Reported noted. Names like Matt Bomer, Billy Eichner, Greg Berlanti, and Bryan Lourd littered the article.

Buttigieg — whose campaign has taken off, with straw polls last month placing him third, coming in only after progressive superstars Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden — has energized everyday Americans and commanded a hefty $7 million in donations in the year's first quarter, a remarkable sum for someone who was a virtual unknown only a few months ago.

The 37-year-old politician is now in his second term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg won his second term after coming out as gay. Since then, he has married his husband, Chasten, who has been a visible part of Buttigieg's campaign, and the two have made public their plans to become fathers.

The Hollywood Reporter took note of how Buttigieg has become a talk show darling, making the rounds on "Ellen," "Real Time with Bill Maher," and "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

During his "Ellen" appearance, Buttigieg addressed claims from Vice President Mike Pence — onetime governor of Indiana — that Buttigieg was "attacking" Pence's faith by making reference to Pence's long and notorious history of anti-LGBTQ positions and policies.

"I'm not critical of his faith. I'm critical of bad policies. I don't have a problem with religion. I'm religious, too," he told Ellen DeGeneres. "I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community.

"So many people - even today - feel like they don't belong," Buttigieg added. "You can get fired in so many parts of this country just for who you are. And that's got to change.

"I'm not interested in feuding with the vice president," he went on to say. "But if he wanted to clear this up he could come out today and say he's changed his mind, that it shouldn't be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are. That's all."

When Buttigieg appeared on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," his host questioned the candidate as to how his experience as mayor of South Bend would translate to the Oval Office. Buttigieg lost no time outlining a vision for a presidency that sounded like something diametrically opposed to what America has seen thus far from the Trump administration.

"I think what you learn when you're a mayor is that your job is not only to come up with good policies, and also to run an administration capably," Buttigieg replied, "but also just to hold people together and to make sure that you're calling people to their highest values. I think that might be the part that we're most missing in the White House right now."

"I guess at the national level the president thinks when there's a problem you can just say the opposite and just will it away, whether it's North Korea or whether it's domestic issues," Buttigieg went on to say. "But when you're in a community, there are no alternative facts."

Even late night hosts and comedians who have not hosted Buttigieg have shown him some love, as Jimmy Fallon did with an affectionate, spot-on impression.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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