Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, by a vote of 86-13, the U.S. Senate confirmed former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as the next secretary of transportation, the first openly LGBTQ person to be confirmed to a cabinet-level position.
His historic confirmation is another milestone for LGBTQ visibility among U.S. elected officials. Sarah McBride, a Democratic state senator in Delaware, became the highest-ranking transgender elected official in the 2020 election, while Dr. Rachel Levine’s nomination to a position in President Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services last month will make her the highest-ranking transgender official in the federal government.
Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement in response to Buttigieg’s confirmation:
Secretary Buttigieg’s confirmation hardly seemed possible just a few years ago. When he first took office as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in 2012, he wasn’t allowed to legally marry. Less than a decade later, after a trailblazing presidential campaign, he is now a cabinet secretary. Buttigieg’s historic rise correlates with the immense progress that the LGBTQ community—through relentless activism and unflinching persistence—has made in recent years.
But his nomination also serves as a reminder that the fight is not finished. Though LGBTQ Americans finally have an ally in the White House once again, there is much work still to be done, including the passage of the Equality Act to ensure that future generations of LGBTQ politicians, public servants, and everyday Americans are protected from discrimination no matter who occupies the Oval Office.
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