The transport secretary made these comments while being interviewed by Stephen Colbert on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Mr Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to be confirmed to the US Cabinet by the Senate. Previously, he served as mayor of South Bend, a midsize city in Indiana. He and Mr Colbert discussed the historic milestone of his appointment to the federal government.
Mr Buttigieg explained, “It wasn’t that long ago, if you look at the ‘50s, there was a historical episode called the Lavender Scare. You couldn’t even be a bookkeeper or an astronomer in the federal government without your job being risk if you were gay.”
While acknowledging the progress of LGBT+ equality in the US, Mr Buttigieg also admitted there’s a long way to go.
“As we speak in states around the country, there are politicians who’ve decided it’s good politics to attack transgender kids, which are some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” he told Mr Colbert.
“High school is terrifying when you’re transgender. High school is terrifying when you’re not, right?
“And these kids have the courage to be who they are, and they just want to be accepted, go to the bathroom like everybody else and play sports like everybody else and live,” Mr Buttigieg added.
States that been rolling back rights for transgender people, including Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. In total, 33 states have brought forward more than 100 bills to limit the rights and freedoms of transgender people.
In his speech to a joint session of Congress in April, President Biden said, “To all transgender Americans watching at home, especially the young people. You’re so brave. I want you to know your president has your back.”
Former President Obama recently gave an interview with the Advocate magazine, and remarked on how sad the onslaught against transgender people made him.
“America has always been at its best when we open our arms wider and help more people feel like they belong – not treat them like second-class citizens because they’re different.”
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