June 28, 2019 at 5:58 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Victory Fund endorses Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg, left, and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, speak at Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 28, 2019. The LGBTQ Victory Fund at the event announced it has endorsed Pete Buttigieg for president. (Photo by Robert Byrne/Victory Fund)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The LGBTQ Victory Fund on Friday endorsed Pete Buttigieg for president.

More than 1,500 people attended the announcement that took place at Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg neighborhood. It coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and WorldPride that is underway in New York.

Victory Fund President Annise Parker in her introduction of Buttigieg described him as the “first viable LGBT candidate” for president.

“He is redefining what is possible in American politics and the Victory Fund is ready to stand with him,” said Parker. “We believe he is the best candidate for president of the United States.”

Parker also reiterated her comments in the Victory Fund’s press release that announced the endorsement.

“Fifty years ago, queer people of color and trans people led a riot that sparked a revolution — and now we build on that legacy by endorsing Mayor Pete Buttigieg for president of the United States,” she said. “It was only 11 years ago that all the leading presidential contenders — Republicans and Democrats — opposed full recognition of LGBTQ rights and relationships. Yet here we are, just one decade later, endorsing the first viable LGBTQ candidate for president of the United States — a frontrunner in a crowded primary, neck-and-neck with the most well-known names in American politics.”

“Mayor Pete’s candidacy is redefining what is possible in American politics,” added Parker. “He is transforming perceptions of LGBTQ people — representing our community in small-town diners in Iowa to rallies in New Hampshire to the presidential debate stage. He is inspiring LGBTQ youth to come out, attend their first Pride parade and to believe they can achieve their dreams. And he’s inspiring more LGBTQ people to run for office, knowing that if Mayor Pete can do it at a national level, they can win in their states and communities as well.”

Buttigieg said his campaign is “for everybody who’s been told they are less than.” He also referenced his support of the Equality Act and noted violence against transgender women of color in his remarks.

Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, joined him on stage and asked him questions that supporters submitted before the event.

“I’m standing before you as a married veteran running for president of the United States,” said Buttigieg.

Buttigieg, who is the mayor of South Bend, Ind., is the second openly gay presidential candidate for a major political party. 

He currently polls among the top tier of Democrats who are hoping to defeat President Trump in 2020. Buttigieg in recent weeks has faced criticism over his response to a fatal police-involved shooting in South Bend.

“Mayor Pete’s executive experience, record of military service and authentic approach to politics and policy makes him the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box,” said Parker. “He is the anti-Trump: Experienced, accomplished, patriotic and thoughtful. We see the path to victory for Mayor Pete and are ready to mobilize our network of LGBTQ people and allies to help make it happen.”

Buttigieg is the first presidential candidate the Victory Fund has endorsed. Friday’s endorsement is also the first from a national organization that Buttigieg has received.

Buttigieg received the Victory Fund’s backing a day after he and other Democratic presidential candidates participated in a debate in Miami.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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