US politician Pete Buttigieg and husband announce arrival of two children

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg with his husband Chasten and their two newborn children. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Saturday (Sept 4) said he and his husband, Chasten, were now the parents of two children, making him the first openly gay Cabinet secretary to become a parent while in office.

"We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family," Buttigieg, 39, said in a statement on social media, sharing a photograph of his daughter and son for the first time since announcing last month that the couple were completing the process of becoming parents.

In the image, the couple, seated on a hospital bed, are smiling as they each cradle a newborn. The Buttigieges did not respond to a phone call seeking comment and have offered few other details about their children.

Pete Buttigieg surfaced in national politics when he entered the presidential race in 2019 as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. This year, Buttigieg and his husband, 32, relocated to Washington after Buttigieg became transportation secretary, making him the first openly gay Cabinet member to be confirmed by the Senate. He is also the youngest member of President Joe Biden's Cabinet.

Buttigieg and his husband, a former middle school teacher, wed in 2018. Since Buttigieg entered the national spotlight, they have often sought to upend perceptions of gay relationships.

"People are accustomed to politics looking a different way, and you're here to make sure that, you know, it can look a different way," Chasten Buttigieg said in an interview with The New York Times this past spring.

The couple had been exploring adoption in recent months. Chasten Buttigieg, who wrote a memoir published in June about growing up gay in the Midwest, also recently told USA Today that the couple was navigating the process of starting a family.

"We have quite a few friends in our circle who've navigated that, so we've just been having a lot of conversations with friends and started trying to figure out what will work for us," he said.

After the couple's announcement last month, activists said that the Buttigieges could reshape assumptions of gay fatherhood.

"As parents, they will now shine a national spotlight on LGBTQ families, who often face daunting challenges because of outdated policies that narrowly define what families are," Annise Parker, president of the Victory Institute, an organisation that helps prepare LGBTQ people to run for political office, said in a statement.

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