South Bend, Indiana has a population of just over 100,000 people. It's a conservative town, settled by Polish Catholics. Its largest employer is the University of Notre Dame. And it has a gay mayor.
Democratic Mayor Pete Buttigieg is 32 years old. He is a Rhodes Scholar and a Harvard grad, and he served in Afghanistan, where he was a Lieutenant in the Navy.
"I was well into adulthood before I was prepared to acknowledge the simple fact that I am gay," Buttigieg wrote in a lengthy op-ed published in today's local paper. "It took years of struggle and growth for me to recognize that it’s just a fact of life, like having brown hair, and part of who I am."
"Putting something this personal on the pages of a newspaper does not come easy," he acknowledges. "We Midwesterners are instinctively private to begin with, and I’m not used to viewing this as anyone else’s business."