Pete Buttigieg, the Secretary of Transportation, said Saturday that he and his husband Chasten are now the parents of two children, making him the first openly gay cabinet secretary to become a parent during his tenure.
“We are delighted to have Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg in our family,” said Mr Buttigieg, 39, in a statement on social media, sharing a photo of his daughter and son for the first time since the announcement last month become parents.
In the picture, the couple, sitting on a hospital bed, are smiling while each cradles a newborn baby. The Buttigieges did not respond to a call asking for comment.
Mr Buttigieg surfaced in national politics when he ran the 2019 presidential election as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. That year, Mr. Buttigieg and Chasten, 32, moved to Washington after Mr. Buttigieg became Secretary of Transportation, making him the first openly gay cabinet member to be ratified by the Senate. He is also the youngest member of President Biden’s cabinet.
Mr. Buttigieg and Chasten, a former middle school teacher, married in 2018. Since Mr. Buttigieg stepped into the national spotlight, they have tried many times to turn the perception of gay relationships upside down.
“People are used to politics being different, and you’re here to make sure it can be different,” Chasten said in an interview with the New York Times earlier this year.
The couple had been considering adopting in the past few months. Chasten, who penned a memoir about growing up gay in the Midwest in June, recently told USA Today that the couple were in the process of raising a family.
“We have quite a few friends in our circle who have done this, so we’ve just had a lot of conversations with friends trying to figure out what works for us,” he said.
After the couple stated last month they were completing the parenting process, activists said the Buttigieges’ announcement could change assumptions about gay fatherhood.
“As parents, you will now put a national spotlight on LGBTQ families who are often faced with daunting challenges due to outdated guidelines that define families,” said Annise Parker, president of the Victory Institute, an organization that prepares LGBTQ people Run for political office, it said in a statement.