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'I want to be brave like you': A 9-year-old boy asked Pete Buttigieg how to tell people he is gay

Joseph Zeballos-Roig , Business Insider US
 Feb 24, 2020, 12:00 PM
CORALVILLE, IOWA - DECEMBER 08: Democratic preside
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg arrives at a campaign event December 08, 2019 in Coralville, Iowa. Less than two months remain before Iowa holds its caucuses in the nations first contest in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Pete Buttigieg counseled a nine-year old boy who wanted advice on coming out as gay to everyone.
  • "Would you help me tell the world I'm gay, too? I want to be brave like you," Zachary Ro asked Buttigieg at a campaign rally in Colorado.
  • "I don't think you need a lot of advice from me on bravery, you seem pretty strong," Buttigieg responded.
  • Then the former mayor lauded the nine-year-old and said others would benefit from his courage to come out.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg had an emotional moment on Saturday night with a nine-year old boy who asked him for help to come out as gay.

During a Q&A session where questions were drawn from a fishbowl, the boy, later identified as, Zachary Ro, thanked the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana for his bravery and sought help from Buttigieg on coming out.

"Would you help me tell the world I'm gay, too?" Ro asked the first openly gay presidential candidate, adding, "I want to be brave like you."

The Democratic hopeful lauded Ro's emotional strength and cited his own turbulent journey to share the truth with loved ones about his identity.

"I don't think you need a lot of advice from me on bravery, you seem pretty strong," Buttigieg responded. "It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone go out there and tell the world. And to see you willing to come to terms with you who you are in a room full of thousands of people you never met, that's really something."

Then the former mayor offered advice to Ro.

"Let me tell you 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.," Buttigieg said. " 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 Ro that others would benefit from his courage.

"The second thing I want you to know is that you will 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."

The Colorado Sun reported that Ro decided to ask Buttigieg the question at the last minute, but was happy he did so.

"It was exciting, and I felt really happy," the boy told the paper after the rally. "I was glad I was able to tell everyone in the audience that I'm gay."

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