Pete Buttigeig, a gay man, is running for U.S. president
Pete Buttigieg speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C. Buttigieg is the first openly gay man to run for president. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The first openly gay man to run for president in the history of the United States is receiving a lot of questions about how to correctly pronounce his tongue-twisting family name.

Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat, is currently mayor of the city of South Bend, Indiana. Pressed at a TV interview about how to pronounce his last name, Mayor Pete (which is what he wants to be called) replied “Boot-ah-judge.”

His family name has since become a meme with commenters saying it’s pronounced “Boot-a-judge” or “Boo-tuh-judge.” The controversy over his unpronounceable surname, however, has guaranteed Mayor Pete the priceless airtime and recall he’ll need as he joins the already overcrowded field of Democrats that want to run for president and retire Donald Trump.

As of last count, 24 Democrats have indicated or have actually entered the race to become the party’s presidential nominee.

But what has aroused the interest of America’s political elite is that Buttigieg is a proud openly gay man. Buttigieg married his partner at a very public event last year.

This didn’t prevent him from being elected Mayor of South Bend in 2011, and in the process becoming Indiana’s first elected government official that’s openly gay.

He was re-elected mayor of South Bend in November 2015 with over 80% of the vote. During his first term as mayor, he also served for seven months in Afghanistan as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.

Then came Jan. 23 when Buttigieg launched an exploratory committee to run for president of the United States. Buttigieg is only 37 years old and has never held statewide or nationwide office. A rank Beltway outsider in every sense of the word.

As to why he’s running for president, Buttigieg said it’s a matter of pushing ahead with what he calls "inter-generational justice." He said he worries about what the United States will be like in 2054, the year he turns 72, which is Trump’s current age.

"We have got to change the trajectory that we're on so that mine is not the first generation to be worse off economically than my parents' was," according to Buttigieg. "If there's one center of gravity to all of it, I think it's this question of the future."

"It's time for a new generation to step forward," said Buttigieg.

He noted that Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and George W. Bush were all born within a few weeks of each other in the same summer of the same year “and, you know, their generation has been the lead for a long time. I think it's time to give a new generation a chance."

He’s been labeled the "Millennial" candidate because of his age and because he believes his role is to make a difference in the lives of people everywhere.

"It's it's not lost on me that there's this historic quality to this candidacy," he said. "When I was a kid, I didn't think it would even be possible to be out and also to put your name forward for the presidency. I wasn't sure it'd be possible to run for office at all."

To him, winning re-election in Indiana as a member of the LGBTQ community during the governorship of Mike Pence (who in the past supported conversion therapy) shows that voters "aren't necessarily ideological, you can reach them at a human level."

"That's what I would hope to do in this effort too," he said.