South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has quickly risen to become a top 2020 presidential contender in the Democratic primary since his campaign launch in January, representing an intelligence, youth, and calm many progressive voters wish to see in the White House. His popularity, however, has had an impact on more than just politics.
Buttigieg, 37, has been very open about his sexuality since coming out as in a 2015 op-ed for the South Bend Tribune. He’s been happily married to Chasten Glezman, a junior high school teacher he met on the dating app Hinge, since 2018. Their successful love story has, apparently, inspired other gay men to seek relationships via the same platform.
According to Hinge, there’s been a 30% increase in profiles created by gay, male individuals since April 1, roughly the time when “Mayor Pete” became a household name. The growth in other demographics, meanwhile, has remained mostly stable.
As the only openly gay presidential candidate, Buttigieg brings representation of an often underrepresented minority to a major stage. He’s spoken out on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, once saying that if Vice President Mike Pence has a problem with his sexuality, “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Still, Buttigieg hasn’t always been comfortable with his sexuality. At a LGBTQ Victory Fund Brunch in early April, he recalled times in his life “where if you had shown me exactly what it was inside me that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.”
Glezman came out earlier, at the age of 18, but he, too, struggled. Unaccepted by his family, Glezman couch-surfed and lived in his car for a period of time before being invited back home.
Their stories are not unlike many young LGBTQ+ individuals—except that if you fast forward more than a decade, Buttigieg is a top 2020 contender, and Glezman could become the first “First Man” to live in the White House.
Like many millennials, the Buttigieg-Glezman love story began on a dating app. Glezman told The New York Times in an interview last year that he joined Hinge in hopes of finding a long-term relationship.
“I wanted a platform where you’re not necessarily inundated with hookup culture and sex,” he told the Times.
Buttigieg and Glezman met in August 2015; their first date was attending a minor league baseball game in South Bend. By the end of 2016 they were living together, and in June 2018 they married at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. James in South Bend.
The story is, in a way, the perfect example of what Hinge aims to do. The dating app uses more in-depth profiles than other available platforms, aiming to spark relationships that last. With this in mind, Hinge advertises itself as “designed to be deleted.”
“We’re proud of all of the relationships we’ve helped set up—including Mayor Pete and Chasten!” Hinge founder and CEO Justin McLeod told Fortune. “We’re happy to see that their love story has inspired even more members of the LGBTQ community to find their person on Hinge.”
As Buttigieg wrote in his coming out op-ed (before he met his husband), being open about his sexuality “could do some good” by bringing visibility to the community.
“I hope that when my children are old enough to understand politics, they will be puzzled that someone like me revealing he is gay was ever considered to be newsworthy,” he wrote at the time. “But the true compass that will have guided us there will be the basic regard and concern that we have for one another as fellow human beings—based not on categories of politics, orientation, background, status or creed, but on our shared knowledge that the greatest thing any of us has to offer is love.”