Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has made history after the Senate confirmed his nomination as President Biden's Secretary of Transportation on February 2, making him the first openly LGBTQ person to sit on a president's Cabinet.
Buttigieg was confirmed by Vice President Kamala Harris and was joined by his husband Chasten Buttigieg in the Old Executive Office Building in the White House complex.
He has also made history as the first millennial to be on a president's Cabinet and is the youngest member of President Biden's Cabinet, at 39.
Buttigieg went on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" after Inauguration Day and discussed his feelings about potentially being the first LGBTQ+ person to serve as a part of the Cabinet.
"I just hope that [my position] sends a different, better, opposite message to some kid who's watching right now that you have every right to belong, every right to serve, every right to be a part of this country," he said.
Now you may be thinking, what exactly does the Secretary of Transportation even do? You would not be alone in thinking that, we had to look it up as well.
The department has only been around since 1966, making Buttigieg the 19th acting Secretary of Transportation. According to the Peoria Journal Star, the job of the Secretary can be described as the "principal advisor to the president in all matters relating to federal transportation programs." They oversee areas like the US airline system, international transportation agreements and preparing transportation legislation.
Secretary Buttigieg has already announced some of his plans that he hopes to execute in the position, planning to adhere to President Biden's executive order that calls for a more climate-focused government.
"Today we face an unprecedented health crisis," he said in a video posted on his Twitter, "We're navigating an economy in danger and our nation is reckoning with the impacts of systemic racism. But with new leadership comes a new opportunity, a chance to build our transportation system back better than it was before."
Several LGBTQ organizations and advocates came out in support for Buttigieg's confirmation. President and CEO of GLAAD Sarah Kate Ellis congratulated him in a statement posted to their Twitter.
"His historic confirmation hearing, where he introduced his husband Chasten, was also a milestone for LGBTQ acceptance and representation," Ellis said. "Secretary Buttigieg's vision will improve all Americans' lives and navigate towards needed change to serve communities on the margins. We know he will continue to lead our country's drive for LGBTQ acceptance."
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David also congratulated Buttigieg in a statement. "His voice as a champion for the LGBTQ community in the Cabinet room will help President-elect Biden build back our nation better, stronger and more equal than before," he said.
Other administrations have had high-ranking LGBTQ+ members with Eric Fanning serving as Obama's Secretary of the Army and Richard Grenell serving as Trump's Director of National Intelligence, as noted by ABC News.
Here is hope that Pete Buttigieg is the first of many LGBTQ+ people to serve in high-ranking positions in our government and that LGBTQ people of color will get to have more representation in future iterations of our government.