US: Chasten Buttigieg has been a homeless community-college student and a Starbucks barista. Now, he could be ‘first gentleman.’

Chasten Buttigieg stands out among the 2020 spouses for reasons other than the fact that he is a man married to a man, or that he is a millennial married to a millennial, or that this campaign is happening during the first year of their marriage, or that he is not yet 30. He is also the son of working-class Midwesterners, a first-generation college graduate, a guy who took a second job at Starbucks so he could have health care. The life story he tells includes bullying, estrangement, homelessness and sexual assault.

His story represents both an American archetype and a modern phenomenon. And now that Chasten Buttigieg knows he’s being watched, what he cares about is being seen.

On paper, Chasten was another kid on the bowling team, and the 4-H club, involved in every theater production. Internally, he was “scratching and itching and clawing to try to change whatever brain chemistry was making me the way I was.”

By adolescence, he started realizing he was attracted to men. He didn’t tell anyone — out of a class of 500 at his public high school, he says, there were zero students who openly identified as LGBTQ — but people suspected. He still remembers being bullied, called homophobic slurs, getting flung around by his backpack. He applied to an exchange program and escaped to Germany for his senior year. “The further away I could get,” he says, “the safer I felt.” Read more via Washington Post