You know Paul Rudnick from his work on movies like Addams Family Values, The First Wives Club, In & Out, and his play Big Night which deals with the aftermath a mass shooting.
His astute observations on Facebook of late have turned to politics. This post tonight came in the wake of the first openly gay Democratic Presidential Candidate, Pete Buttigieg dropping out of the race.
When I first read about Pete Buttigieg I was intrigued and impressed. I donated to his campaign and heard him speak at an NYC fundraiser, where his intelligence, wit and dedication were evident.
Today he ended his run, which is heartbreaking, but he remains a great leader.
Yes, there were issues, especially with Mayor Pete’s racial politics in South Bend, but he treated his detractors with respect and truly listened. He weathered the hatred of the Trump administration, and the vicious insults of Mike Pence and Rush Limbaugh. What sometimes bothered me was watching the smugness of his enemies in the LGBTQ community, with their checklists and condescension.
As a gay New Yorker, I’ve experienced countless milestones; everything from the 1993 March on Washington to ACT-UP meetings to the explosion of LGBTQ art surrounding the AIDS crisis. I remember seeing the Stonewall hero Marsha P. Johnson on Christopher Street and hearing Larry Kramer speak at Cooper Union and attending memorial after memorial. I’ve been gay and LGBTQ and queer and everything else. And like so many other people, everywhere on the rainbow, I’ve taken constant inspiration and delight from being part of such an astonishing community, where I’ve made so many friends and met John, the love of my life.
Mayor Pete’s campaign is my latest landmark. Yes, I know he’s a white cisgender gay guy and so am I, but that doesn’t diminish the particular thrill of watching a genuinely, joyously out individual making a serious run for the Presidency, and terrifying so many bigots. Identity politics are both important and challenging, and can also become narrow and frustrating. But Mayor Pete has made an undeniable difference. And it’s possible to admire Stacey Abrams, Hillary, Elizabeth Warren and many other candidates, while still giving Pete his due.
The leaps from demolishing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to Marriage Equality and now Mayor Pete’s run have been both long overdue and still exciting. If you disagree then try contemplating so many recent setbacks, from the Trans Ban to Trump’s directives denying LGBTQ people jobs, housing, the right to adopt and lifesaving medical care. Nothing can be taken for granted, so again, this is why Mayor Pete is important.
One of the many things I cherish about the gay world involves a matter of pure and delicious attitude, a collective ability to not just persist, but to raise a group eyebrow and tell ourselves,
‘Honey, get over yourself.’
And that’s how I feel about the sniping around Mayor Pete; while some of these objections are completely legitimate, when they attempt to erase his courage, his determination and the joy of his marriage to Chasten, even in khakis, it’s time for a massive
So I salute Mayor Pete, and how he turned even his tricky last name into an advantage. And I look forward to an infinite variety of future LGBTQ candidates, leaders and Presidents. And I can’t wait to see what Pete does next. –Paul Rudnick