During a fundraiser of more than 300 people at the Standard Club in Chicago on Saturday, Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay man running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, was interrupted by two self described non-binary “Queers Against Pete” demonstrators.
One of protesters asked Buttigieg, how a “transgender, queer, or nonbinary teen who is disowned by their wealthy, homophobic parents and therefore cannot afford college” can further their education “because you oppose universal free public education and the majority of voters do?”
“I have great news for you: That person will get free college under my plan because what we are doing is basing it on somebody’s ability to pay. Now, if you are in the top 10% by income, I am going to have to ask you to pay your own tuition,” Buttigieg replied to the protestor who ignored the answer.
A second demonstrator then jumped in confronting the mayor and rambling on for about three minutes on his record with the black community and criminal justice issues.
“I need you to respect me, and respect my question, and respect the people of South Bend! You’re saying solidarity, you’re saying rules of the road, and you’re not following them yourself. You don’t love me; you won’t let me ask my question,” shouted the protester, who also identified as “queer and nonbinary.”
Buttigieg replied: “I respect your activism, but sometimes love is not expressed by interruption. Sometimes love is expressed in a different way.”
The protester remained shouting which prompted a campaign donor to yell, “You’re not the only one in the room!” After the disruption continued Buttigieg finally relented, “You know what? Just go ahead. Let’s do this.”
The protester, who identified as queer and nonbinary but did not give a name, brought up the South Bend police shooting death last summer of a black robbery suspect, Eric Logan.
“Mayor Pete, as somebody who says you want to unify communities, as someone who says they want to follow the rules of the road, there are police officers in South Bend who kill people. What’s his name Logan …” the protester said.
“Not what’s his name.” Buttigieg said. “His name is Eric Logan.”
“There’s so many, I can’t keep track anymore,” the protester shot back trying to cover-up their mistake.
“That’s false,” Buttigieg replied.
“How can we trust you will show up for queer and trans people and people of color when there were eight community meetings in South Bend about a police officer who killed someone in your community and you did not go to them?”
Buttigieg replied by noting he set up the series of community meetings with “rank-and-file officers to elected leaders to some of my harshest critics, and people who have been in my administration all along” to “empower the community” to help come up with solutions for better policing in South Bend.
“We wanted the conversations to be real. We wanted them to lead to actual change that could be implemented,” Buttigieg said. “In order for that to happen, we had to have conversations that got out of the circus and into the heart. And so those conversations, I knew, would be at their best when they were as far away as possible from presidential politics.”
“I’m not standing up here, as I hope to earn your vote, saying that I have earned it by getting everything perfect, that racism, poverty, homelessness and exclusion have come to an end in my city during my time as mayor any more than they’ve come to an end anywhere,” Buttigieg told the protester. “But we have made so much progress.”
The two protestors not caring what Buttigieg answered kept chanting and screaming “Queers Against Pete” over and over as the event ended.