Chasten Buttigieghusband to presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg headlined the Victory Fund's 2019 champagne brunch in downtown Chicago on Sept. 22.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot also spoke at the event, which raises funds for the PAC arm of Washington, D.C.-based Victory Fund, which supports and gives political trainings to openly LGBT candidates.
In her opening remarks, Victory Fund head Annise Parker, who was previously mayor of Houston, called 2019 "the year of the lesbian mayor," noting that other openly LGBTQ women besides Lightfootamong them Madison, Wisconsin Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, who is queer and was in attendancehad climbed to the highest executive political office in other municipalities.
Lightfoot said that she hoped Victory Fund could make Chicago "ground zero" for its work supporting LGBT candidates. The mayor spoke to the importance of those candidates running and being in office; she noted that several parents with LGBT children had commented to her that those young people were inspired by having an open lesbian becoming mayor of their city.
Lightfoot also spoke about the importance of the LGBT community defending the rights of all Americans as those are endangered by the current federal government.
"It falls on us and our collective community to stand in the breach," Lightfoot said.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Debra Shore, who has been especially active in Victory Fund's local work, presented the Debra Shore Leadership Award, to activist Michael Bauer, who passed away at the end of August 2019. Bauer's husband, Roger Simon, accepted the award on his late spouse's behalf.
Shore noted that many candidates would consult with Bauer first when contemplating a run for office. "He had his detractors, but he made a difference," she added.
Chasten discussed his coming out, as well as the importance of his husband's presidential run. He noted that the 2015 Victory Fund brunch was the first public event that they had attended as a couple.
"This campaign has already changed our lives in so many ways," Chasten said Sept. 22.
He added, "Growing up I never thought I would be here representing a presidential candidate, who happens to be the man I'm married to." said Chasten. He also noted that Pete's run was "historic" in that he was a gay man running a campaign that is not exclusively about LGBT rights. Nevertheless, Chasten vowed that Pete would sign the Equality Act, repeal the ban on transgender military personnel and increase funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and research.
State Rep. Lamont Robinson also discussed the importance of Victory Fund's worker and briefly spoke about the recently announced LGBT community center planned for Chicago's South Side. Other speakers included Rhodes-Conway as well as Michigan State Rep. and candidate for U.S. Congress Jon Hoadly.