Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg received a topical question during a rally in Colorado on Saturday when a 9-year-old boy asked him for advice on coming out as gay.
According to ABC News, Buttigieg read 9-year-old Zachary Ro’s question aloud before inviting the boy to join him onstage, prompting thunderous applause and cheers of “love is love” from the audience.
“Would you help me telling the world that I’m gay, too? I want to be brave like you,” the question read.
Buttigieg recalled the difficulty of his own coming out story and applauded the boy for revealing his identity before thousands of strangers.
“I don’t think you need a lot of advice for me on bravery. You seem pretty strong to me. It took me a long time to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone to go out there and tell the world, and to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of a thousand people, thousands of people you’ve never met, that’s really something,” said Buttigieg.
Buttigieg then proceeded to tell Zachary “a couple things that might be useful.”
“The first thing is that it won’t always be easy, but that’s okay, because you know who you are,” he said, as reported by CNN. “And that’s really important 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 also told Zachary to be mindful of “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,” he added. “And what wound up happening instead is that it’s a huge part of the difference I get to make. 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.”
After the rally, Zachary told reporters that Mayor Pete’s advice inspired him.
“I just feel inspired by Pete being openly gay and running for president at the same time, and someday, I want to be like him,” he said. “I feel like he gave me some really good advice.”
When asked what advice he’d give other boys out there in similar situations, Zachary said he would tell them to “be themselves.”
“I’d probably tell them to just be themselves,” he said. “Don’t worry about what other people think.”
“I’m very proud for him,” Zachary’s dad added.
President Trump recently exclaimed that he would support an openly gay candidate for office. His comments were made shortly before the openly gay Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell was tapped to be Head of National Intelligence.