The New Republic axed this piece, but like all things Internetty, it's been saved for posterity. I have a Mayor Pete problem, too, but it has little to do with Mr. Buttigieg
I feel as though people really don't know how to treat his candidacy. Some have detached Buttigieg's homosexuality from the rest of his identity, so they can dismiss him as "another white guy." That's true only in the sense the Barack Obama was just another cis dude and Hillary Clinton was just another white person. It's easy to brush someone off if you deduct the parts you find situationally inconvenient, and it's something I've witnessed far too often. It's near-sighted, absurdly reductionist, and wrong.
If we treat intersectionality as a system that enables us to rank people according to their experience with oppression, then I think we doing ourselves, and others, a disservice. In my view, intersectionality is not about sorting people but understanding them, and when you are ignoring parts of people, you are not understanding them.
Back to The New Republic. I read Dale Peck's piece, and I'm not much impressed. This is the standard assilimilationist-vs.-radical tussle that's been happening for decades, and will rage on long after I am gone. I have very little interest in this debate, by the way, because I think we need not make a choice. Like any minority, LGBT people have advanced their cause through both evolution and revolution, through bricks thrown at Stonewall and through United States vs. Windsor. Just as we shouldn't detach part of an identity, neither should we dismiss the value of both assimilation and radical action in the march towards equality.
So, no, Mayor Pete is not exactly breaking every barrier, but...does he have to? Wasn't Barack Obama the first black president even though he didn't do everything imaginable to push forward the cause of equality? Can't we still remember Hillary Clinton as the first female Democratic nominee even though we know that she was hardly a feminist fantasy? I say yes and yes, and I also say that even if the campaign of Pete Buttigieg isn't taken directly from the guide book of ACT UP, it's something to celebrate.