Who is Pete Buttigieg’s husband Chasten?

Former mayor’s husband has written a memoir about the presidential campaign, and growing up gay in a conservative Midwestern family

James Crump
Wednesday 16 December 2020 14:37
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How to pronounce Buttigieg

Chasten Buttigieg congratulated his husband, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, after it was announced that he had been nominated to serve as the secretary of transportation in the Biden administration.

Mr Buttigieg’s husband will become the first openly LGBT+ cabinet member in US history, if he is approved by the Senate. He also made history when he became the first openly gay candidate to seek the Democratic nomination for US president in 2019.

Following the announcement on Tuesday, Mr Buttigieg tweeted: “prepare yourself” after Preet Bharara, the former US attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote: “So we’re finally going to have Infrastructure Week??”

Mr Bharara’s tweet was in reference to the former mayor’s flagship policy when he was running for president, which was a $1 trillion (£740bn) plan to revitalise the US’ transport networks, according to CNBC.

Mr Buttigieg, 31, has been vocal in his support for his husband, 38, over the last couple of years, as he unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for president and then became a key campaigner for eventual nominee Joe Biden.

But who is he and what has his husband said about him?

Who is Chasten Buttigieg?

Chasten Buttigieg is a high school teacher and a writer, who has been married to Pete Buttigieg since 2018. Formerly known as Chasten Glezman, he adopted his husband’s name after they tied the knot.

The couple met on dating app Hinge in 2015, shortly after the former mayor publicly came out as gay while still serving in South Bend, Indiana.

Mr Buttigieg was born in Traverse, Michigan, and has worked in several different jobs, including as a humanities and drama teacher.

He released his memoir, I Have Something to Tell You, in September 2020, which debuted at number 12 on The New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover non-fiction.

The memoir detailed his experiences during his husband’s 2020 presidential campaign run and his early life growing up as gay in a conservative Midwestern family.

Mr Buttigieg also wrote candidly about his experience of being sexually assaulted. He told USA Today earlier this year that he felt it was important to include that part of his life as well as his other struggles.

“In politics, you're not supposed to open up about those things,” he said.

“It seems like people don't share their vulnerabilities because if you were ever vulnerable or something happened to you, then somehow it makes you weak. And I just don't understand that and I don't prescribe to that thinking,” Mr Buttigieg added.

“I wanted to write my real story. And some of that was being really honest about what I thought, what I went through and what I experienced and navigated and some of it was heartbreaking.”

What has Pete said about Chasten?

Earlier this year, Mr Buttigieg’s husband said that the teacher was unsure if he wanted to date a politician when they first met in 2015.

The 38-year-old told the LGBTQ&A podcast: “He [Chasten] was a little sceptical about getting mixed up with a politician, and he asked, you know, ‘What does your future look like?’ And I told him.

“So he reminds me of that now, and we talk about the crazy life that we have, because I don’t think any of us could’ve guessed even a year and a half ago that this was where life would take us.”

Despite the whirlwind couple of years, the pair plan to have children in the near future, and Pete has said that Chasten will be a great father.

“No matter what happens, I think the next chapter in our personal lives is going to be about kids,” he told People earlier this year.

The former mayor added: “Chasten is just especially wired to be a great parent.”

The 38-year-old also praised Mr Buttigieg earlier this year, for connecting with voters despite never aiming to work in politics.

“He’s not somebody who I think felt that politics was for him or sought out the celebrity world by any stretch,” he said. “But he’s also somebody that I think people just naturally take to because he’s a magnetic and wonderful person.”

How has Chasten supported Pete?

Mr Buttigieg repeatedly supported his husband on Twitter during the primaries for the Democratic nomination, and joined him in-person for several events.

When the former mayor announced he was running for US president, Mr Buttigieg tweeted his support.

In January 2019, he said: “I am so proud of my husband, @PeteButtigieg this morning. Let’s go show the world why I fell in love with you.”

During the New Hampshire primary, Mr Buttigieg again publicly supported him, writing: “Two hours of sleep, six events completed, three more to go, and energised as ever.

“@PeteButtigieg amazes me and I couldn’t be more proud as he continues to put in the work and inspire voters across New Hampshire.”

Mr Buttigieg became a key part of his husband’s run for president, as he addressed crowds of people across the US in support of him.

After the former mayor dropped out of the race, Mr Buttigieg told a crowd of supporters in South Bend: “About a year and a half ago, my husband came home from work and told me – well he asked me: 'What do you think about running for president?' And I laughed! Not at him, but at life.”

He added: “Life gave me some interesting experiences, on my way to find Pete. After falling in love with Pete, Pete got me to believe in myself... and I told Pete to run [for office] because I knew there were other kids sitting out there in this country who needed to believe in themselves, too.”

What has he said about Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff?

Mr Buttigieg has also been supportive of the incoming US first lady, Dr Jill Biden, and the vice president-elect Kamala Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff.

He recently defended Dr Biden, 69, after the Wall Street Journal  published a piece that attempted to diminish her credentials.

Academic Joseph Epstein wrote in the Journal that the future first lady should drop the “Dr” from her name, in a piece that was widely criticised.

Dr Biden received a doctoral degree in education 13 years ago from the University of Delaware. Dr Biden also has master's degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University.

In response, Mr Buttigieg wrote: “The author could’ve used fewer words to just say ‘ya know in my day we didn’t have to respect women.’”

He also linked to a fundraiser for the school Dr Biden teaches at and added: “Want to say no to sexists and yes to raising funds for the community college foundation where @DrBiden teaches? Well, you’re in luck.”

Mr Buttigieg has also praised Mr Emhoff, saying: “The thing I loved about Doug is, he's just a chill dude. He's not a politician. He is doing his thing because he loves his wife.”

With 515,000 followers on Twitter, expect to hear more from Mr Buttigieg as his husband serves in the Biden administration over the next four years.

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