© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY
WECS · WEDW-FM · WNPR · WPKT · WRLI-FM · WVOF
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chasten Buttigieg says kids need more LGBTQ+ books to feel represented

Chasten Buttigieg
Provided
/
Carina Teoh
Chasten Buttigieg will appear at the Ridgefield Playhouse, Friday, June 16, 2023. “All the books I read in school for 13 years were about straight people," he said. "And I wished so hard, I prayed every night that I would wake up straight. You can’t change that simple fact about you, it’s out of your control.”

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, will be at the Ridgefield Playhouse this Friday as part of his book tour for his rewritten memoir “I Have Something To Tell You – For Young Adults.”

Buttigieg’s book focuses on his experience growing up gay in a small Midwestern town.

It was originally published in 2021 and he rewrote it for young adults to include stories for young queer audiences. The book also has resources for parents and teachers.

Buttigieg is a former teacher and is passionate about LGBTQ+ inclusive education. He says people need to see themselves reflected more in books. He hopes his memoir will give students who are not queer the opportunity to learn and empathize with stories different from their own.

“All the books I read in school for 13 years were about straight people. And I wished so hard, I prayed every night that I would wake up straight. You can’t change that simple fact about you, it’s out of your control,” Buttigieg said.

“I spent 18 years of my life thinking I was going to hell and losing my family and friends just because of this thing I couldn’t change. That’s why stories like this are so important, to make sure that everyone feels welcomed and accepted.”

Buttigieg says nonfiction books give people a mirror and window into other people’s lives. That it's an opportunity to see yourself reflected on the pages of a book.

In 2020, Chasten Buttigieg (let) appeared at a campaign event with his husband and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Win McNamee
/
Getty Images North America
Chasten Buttigieg (let) appears at a 2020 campaign event with his husband and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. "I don't want to make my entire existence and identify wrapped up in the fact that I'm gay," says Chasten Buttigieg now, "I'm also a professional and a dad and an educator and a writer. Those are thing I feel say more about me than who I'm married to."

He says there weren’t books like this when he was growing up. And if he had seen himself reflected, so much would’ve been different for him in coming to terms with his sexuality.

“Hopefully some people will see their life reflected on the pages of this book. And for others, maybe it's their peers, they’ll be able to empathize [with] what a young queer person might be going through — the fear that one feels, the internalized homophobia — and how that eats away at your confidence and your trust and your sense of self-worth,” Buttigieg said.

In honor of Buttigieg’s book tour happening during Pride Month, he’s reflecting on what Pride means to him.

“It’s a call to action. I always ask myself, ‘How am I doing more than just posting on social media?’ Pride is a celebration of my existence. I made it out, I survived. You know? I got out of the closet. There were times in my life, especially when I ran from home, that I thought I wouldn’t be alive. That I wouldn’t make it to today, so, I celebrate that,” he said.

Lesley Cosme Torres is an Education Reporter at Connecticut Public. She reports on education inequities across the state and also focuses on Connecticut's Hispanic and Latino residents, with a particular focus on the Puerto Rican community. Her coverage spans from LGBTQ+ discrimination in K-12 schools, book ban attempts across CT, student mental health concerns, and more. She reports out of Fairfield county and Hartford.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content