Indiana has frequented the news lately, and not for their delicious Hoosier Pie recipes — Governor Mike Pence has made a name for his state as the national battle line for so-called “religious freedom” laws.
Now the mayor of South Bend, Indiana’s fourth-largest city, is making headlines for promoting a different sort of freedom — the freedom to live an authentic life.
Whereas Pence somehow managed to pen a pride month welcome letter without actually mentioning LGBT people, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend recently authored an op-ed in the South Bend Tribune titled Why Coming Out Matters.
Here’s a taste:
“I was well into adulthood before I was prepared to acknowledge the simple fact that I am gay. It took years of struggle and growth for me to recognize that it’s just a fact of life, like having brown hair, and part of who I am. Putting something this personal on the pages of a newspaper does not come easy. We Midwesterners are instinctively private to begin with, and I’m not used to viewing this as anyone else’s business. But it’s clear to me that at a moment like this, being more open about it could do some good. For a local student struggling with her sexuality, it might be helpful for an openly gay mayor to send the message that her community will always have a place for her. And for a conservative resident from a different generation, whose unease with social change is partly rooted in the impression that he doesn’t know anyone gay, perhaps a familiar face can be a reminder that we’re all in this together as a community.”
You can read the full piece here.