As Out managing editor Michelle Garcia wrote, “Pete Buttigieg is having a moment.” The Democratic presidential hopeful is raking in donations after his CNN Town Hall, aligning himself with the Muslim community, and qualifying to appear at the Democratic National Committee’s debate in June. While Buttigieg isn’t the first openly gay man to run for president (Republican Fred Karger ran in 2012), he’s the first queer candidate to make it to the debate — and the first that voters seem to really connect with. Yes, Pete Buttigieg has stans — and they’ve named themselves the #PeteFleet.
JOIN. THE. PETE. FLEET. https://t.co/tsmJpamStF
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) March 16, 2019
— Pete Fleet (@PeteFleet2020) March 19, 2019
— LGBT4Pete (@LGBT4Pete) March 19, 2019
"There's something happening right now, that calls for something completely different than what we've been seeing. Generationally different, regionally different, somebody with a different life story and a different background." -- @PeteButtigieg #PeteForAmerica #PeteFleet
— Oregonians For Pete (@Or4Pete) March 18, 2019
Not to be confused with Rihanna’s Navy, Gaga’s Little Monsters, or Mariah’s Lambs, the #PeteFleet is small but mighty. And it makes sense to name themselves after a fleet of ships, considering that Buttigieg is a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve (and an Afghanistan veteran). But he’s also a gay man, so … fleet just hits different.
— Ryan Houlihan (@RyanHoulihan) March 18, 2019
— jackson (@_swamp_witch_) March 19, 2019
Did no one think about the fact that Fleet is a popular enema brand beloved by bottoms the world over? Maybe I’m a pessimist, but when your candidate is a gay man whose last name has the word “butt” in it, I just can’t help but think of all the ways that particular hashtag could go bottoms up. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Douche jokes aside, it’s exciting to see an openly queer person standing as such a strong contender in a presidential race packed with candidates who each have their own set of issues. I’m ready to join the #PeteFleet … I just hope the water’s clear.