Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said he no longer reads “LGBT media” due to constant debate and speculation over whether he’s “too gay” or “not gay enough.”
Buttigieg made the comments during an interview Wednesday on SiriusXM’s The Clay Cane Show, NBC News reports.
The South Bend, Ind., mayor was asked by Cane about criticism from “LGBT circles” that “more masculine-presenting men have more access.”
Cane asked Buttigieg, “How different would it be if you were quote unquote ‘more effeminate?’”
“It’s tough for me to know, right, because I just am what I am, and you know, there’s going to be a lot of that,” Buttigieg said. “That’s why I can’t even read the LGBT media anymore, because it’s all, ‘he’s too gay,’ ‘not gay enough,’ ‘wrong kind of gay.’
“All I know is life became a lot easier when I just started allowing myself to be myself, and I’ll let other people write up whether I’m ‘too this’ or ‘too that.'”
If you missed my @PeteButtigieg interview, here is a clip of him talking about some of the critiques of him in LGBT media. You can listen to the full interview on demand on @SXMUrbanView. #claycaneshow #claynation #congressionalblackcaucus pic.twitter.com/kTE26m3mWR
— Clay Cane (@claycane) September 18, 2019
However, Buttigieg’s comments drew criticism from LGBTQ media professionals, who pointed out that articles questioning whether he is “gay enough” have appeared in non-LGBTQ media.
Zack Stafford, editor-in-chief of The Advocate, noted that both Slate and The New Republic printed articles that commented on the nature of Buttigieg’s sexuality and presentation, asking if he was “gay enough” or “bad for gays.”
Pete says LGBTQ media is to blame for the pieces dissecting whether he is “gay enough” or not.
However, those two big pieces were in Slate and The New Public. Not LGBTQ media. https://t.co/jfNxjiFCOV
— Zach Stafford (@ZachStafford) September 19, 2019
The New Republic was forced to delete the article in question due to public outcry, after gay writer Dale Peck repeatedly called Buttigieg “Mary Pete” and questioned his sexual behavior.
Phillip Picardi, editor-in-chief of Out magazine, also criticized Buttigieg for not supporting LGBTQ journalism given it is “dwindling despite our rights being threatened at higher rates.”
2. How have you centered LGBTQ+ people in any of your policies thus far as a presidential candidate?
— Phillip Picardi (@pfpicardi) September 19, 2019
A recent high-profile closure came when British LGBTQ media outlet GayStarNews shuttered, citing financial issues and criticizing advertisers for only supporting LGBTQ people and businesses during Pride month.
This isn’t the first time Buttigieg has addressed criticisms about his sexuality or presentation. In the wake of the New Republic article, Buttigieg was asked how he would respond to questions about whether he is “gay enough.”
“You know, there’s not gonna be an answer for everybody,” he told the Associated Press. “The best way I’ve found to deal with that is to just be myself and let other people worry about whether it’s enough.”