First Openly Gay US Presidential Candidate?

09 April, 2019

Nearly fifty years ago, police raided a New York City bar popular with homosexuals called the Stonewall Inn. Police often raided such bars in the 1960s.

But this time -- on June 28, 1969 -- patrons and workers at Stonewall fought back. People who lived near the bar joined in the fight, too.

For the next six days, police and the public clashed in an event known as the Stonewall Riots.

The riots are the subject of a recently opened exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit shows how the uprising helped begin the modern gay rights movement in the United States.

Exhibit writer Christy Wallover says the exhibit aims to show the bravery of everyday Americans. She says that, over the years, gay rights activists have fought for the right to hold jobs, serve in the military, speak publicly about being gay and marry someone of the same sex.

First openly gay candidate for president?

This year, the gay rights movement in the United States may be taking a new step. If he runs, Pete Buttigieg would be the first openly gay person to campaign for president of the United States.

Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg is currently the top official of a city of 100,000 in the Midwestern state of Indiana. He has not yet announced he is a candidate for the 2020 presidential election. But he has already raised $7 million for a possible campaign.

Buttigieg, who is 37 years old, is married to a man. His young age and limited government experience may be more notable for many voters than his sexual orientation. A public opinion study this year found 68 percent of Americans would accept a gay presidential candidate.

Buttigieg spoke this week at a fundraising event in Washington, D.C. that promotes openly gay public officials. There, he made note of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's position on gay rights.

Pence, who is Christian, has publicly supported a national law that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Buttigieg is also Christian and speaks openly about his faith. During his speech, he addressed Pence by saying, "Your problem is not with me -- your quarrel, sir, is with my creator." In other words, Buttigieg suggested that God made him who he is.

A 2017 Gallup study found that about 4.5 percent of Americans – around 10 million people – identify as LGBTQ. The letters mean Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning.

I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.

Kelly Jean Kelly adapted this story for Learning English based on reports from VOA. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

homosexual - n. sexually attracted to people of the same sex

exhibit - n. an object or a collection of objects that have been put out in a public space for people to look a