Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg may be the first openly gay candidate behind a major presidential campaign, but some gay activists who interrupted and protested his fundraiser on Friday say they expect more out of his policy positions.
According to a story at The Guardian published on Friday, Buttigieg was answering a question about his husband at an event in San Francisco when he was interrupted by "two queer activists" who stood up in the audience. Video of the event from the same outlet shows the duo's shouts quickly being drowned out by boos and chants of "boot-edge-edge" from the surrounding sea of supporters.
"I respect your activism, but this is a gathering for supporters of our campaign and I just got a question about my husband and I'm really excited to answer it," the candidate says in response to the disturbance on video. The two were later taken out of the event.
One of the demonstrators said that the candidate's problems is his supposed moderate stances and the kind of voters to which he's supposedly trying to appeal.
"I'm definitely proud of the fact that a gay candidate has made it thus far," Celi Tamayo-Lee, one of the activists booted from the event, told the newspaper outside the event, "but it's hard to enjoy or appreciate when his stances are so middle of the road and speak to a predominantly white, upper class audience."
According to the story, the two were part of a larger group protesting outside the event, one of whom also raised race-and-class-based complaints about it.
"We need better, we deserve better," Adiel Pollydore, a 26-year-old protester who is black and "queer," told the newspaper. "There's a level of irony that this event costs hundreds of dollars to attend in the Mission, a historically Latinx and immigrant neighborhood. What does it say that this event is not accessible to the folks that live in the neighborhood where it's being held?"
According to the story, one of Buttigieg's supporters called the protesters "homophobes" after the event, to which one responded, "We're all gay!"
According to PinkNews, the group behind the protest and the disruption is called "Queers Against Pete," which takes issue with the candidate for "claiming to be in community with us" while being "out of touch."
An open letter from the group says that the former college town mayor "simply falls short" and is "not fit to be President of the United States" for a list of reasons including his stances on "free" college, ending cash bail, creating an "alternative to police," his opposition to Medicare for All, and the fact that he hasn't pledged to halt deportations or decriminalize border crossings.
"He's not representative of our community. He may be representative of part, but not all," gay San Francisco filmmaker Jethro Patalinghug, who attended the protest, told Mercury News. He added, "Pete has a record of dismantling houses in the South Bend and Indiana for black and latino communities. Pete: Stop using your gay card because you're not representative of our community."