Zachary Ro and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg — Photo: @pete.buttigieg / Instagram
A nine-year-old boy asked former Mayor Pete Buttigieg to help him “be brave” and “tell the world I’m gay” at a campaign rally in Denver, Co., on Saturday.
Zachary Ro, from Lone Tree, submitted a question to the presidential candidate, which was read out by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to the crowd of around 4,000 people, the Guardian reports.
“Thank you for being so brave,” Ro wrote. “Would you help me tell the world I’m gay, too? I want to be brave like you.”
After Ro was brought on stage, Buttigieg said, “I don’t think you need advice from me on bravery. You seem pretty strong.”
“It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone to go out there and tell the world,” Buttigieg continued, “and to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of…thousands of people you’ve never met, that’s really something.”
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He offered Ro a “couple of things that might be useful,” saying that “it won’t always be easy, but that’s OK, because you know who you are.”
“And that’s really important,” he said, “because when you know who you are, you have a center of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you.”
Buttigieg continued: “The second thing I want you to know is that you’ll never know who’s taking their lead from you, who’s watching you and deciding that they can be a little braver because you have been brave.
“When I was trying to figure out who I was, I was afraid that who I was might mean that I could never make a difference. And what wound up happening instead is that it’s a huge part of the difference I get to make,” Buttigieg said. “I never could have seen that coming, and you’ll never know whose life you might be affecting right now, just by standing here. There’s a lot of power in that.”
He ended by telling Ro that while he “can’t promise it’ll always be easy, I can promise you that I’m gonna be rooting for you. And I think there’s a whole bunch of people here who are going to be rooting for you every step of the way.”
After the campaign event, Ro spoke to FOX31 about the experience, saying, “I just feel inspired by Pete.”
He added: “I feel like he gave me some very good advice.”
Buttigieg is currently second in the race for the Democratic nomination, with 24 delegates to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 35, after the former South Bend, Indiana mayor finished third in the Nevada caucuses over the weekend.
The next state to vote is South Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 29. Buttigieg is currently averaging fourth in polling in the state, trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders, and businessman Tom Steyer.
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