By Spencer Feingold
The legendary Olympic diver and LGBTQ activist, Greg Louganis, supports Pete Buttigieg in the 2020 presidential race for many reason — last of which is that they are both gay.
“He’s a genuine person, he is very intelligent, he served in the military,” Louganis told Cheddar in an interview Thursday. “He’s got so much going for him, and he is not just a gay man.”
Louganis has been vocal in his support for the mayor of South Bend, Indiana — better known as Mayor Pete — on social media since Buttigieg launch his campaign in January.
“History being made. Decency and ethics on display. So exciting,” Louganis said in a tweet.
As the gay, 37-year-old mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana, Buttigieg’s campaign was largely seen as a quixotic bid. In recent months, however, Buttigieg has garnered enormous media attention for his high intellect, his service in the war in Afghanistan, and his sober approach to politics.
Intrigue has also grown around Buttigieg for his open expressions of Christian faith and his family values — he married his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, in 2017, two years after he came out as gay in an article to his constituents in the South Bend Tribune.
"My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God," Buttigieg said during a speech last month, responding to Vice President Mike Pence’s numerous comments about homosexuality and religion.
Buttigieg’s rise is also represented in public polling. He has consistently polled among the top five candidates out of the 23 and counting hopefuls vying for the Democratic nomination.
“People put labels on us, we put labels on ourselves, we are so much more and [Buttigieg] is so much more,” Louganis said.
Louganis first rose to prominence in the 1970s and 80s after winning multiple Olympic medals and world championships in diving. He came out publicly as gay and HIV-positive in 1995. Since retiring from professional diving, Louganis has been a public advocate for the LGBTQ community — gay athletes in particular — and HIV awareness. He also now serves as the sports director of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
“We're not just gay, we're not just athletes. We're so much more,” Louganis said of the LGBTQ community.