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Pete Buttigieg will join Biden’s Cabinet as transportation secretary / LGBTQ Nation

Pete Buttigieg

Pete ButtigiegPhoto: Shutterstock

Former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg will be the first out gay person to be a member of the presidential Cabinet. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana will reportedly be nominated to be transportation secretary by President-elect Joe Biden.

While President Donald Trump appointed Richard Grenell as acting Director of National Intelligence, a Cabinet-level position, Grenell wasn’t confirmed by the Senate and only served as a seat warmer for the incoming DNI.

Related: Pete Buttigieg & Liz Warren do the Time Warp with Tenacious D & Susan Sarandon

The president’s Cabinet is made up of the heads of all the executive branch departments plus the Vice President. Other high-level government officials like CIA director, White House Chief of Staff, and the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, are considered Cabinet-level.

According to D.C. gossip, Buttigieg has also been under consideration for Secretary of Commerce or Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Ambassador to China, and Veterans Affairs. He reportedly wanted to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., but veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield has already been named to that position.

Biden is famously fond of the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, saying this past March: “I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but he reminds me of my son Beau…. It’s the highest compliment I could give any man or woman.” He was referring to Beau Biden, his son who passed away due to brain cancer in 2015.

And in the month leading up to the election, Buttigieg proved to be one of the Biden/Harris campaign’s best surrogates, going viral repeatedly with his no-nonsense responses to Republican talking points in appearances on Fox News.

Still, his job as transportation secretary won’t be an easy one. As the nation has limped through the coronavirus pandemic under President Trump, Buttigieg will be responsible for planning a way to rebuild America’s infrastructure – from rebuilding deteriorating highway, rail, and air systems to salvaging urban transit agencies like New York City and Washington DC’s subway systems.

He would oversee more than 55,000 employees – roughly half the number of people who live in South Bend – if confirmed to the position by the Senate.

Punkie Johnson Is First Out Black Lesbian to Join SNL Cast

Punkie Johnson is the first out black lesbian cast member in Saturday Night Live History. Here she is on a street corner in New York looking handsome in a baseball hat.

This afternoon’s Saturday Night Live press release ahead of their new season came with some interesting tidbits: Jim Carrey will be recruited to play Joe Biden, if that’s your thing; they will go back to performing in front of a (limited) live studio audience inside Rockefeller Center — which sounds more dangerous than I’d be willing to be for 90 minutes of comedy, but hey maybe that’s just me; and one of my favorite players Ego Nwodim is finally getting her well-earned promotion to main cast member.

By far THE MOST EXCITING NEWS is that this season of SNL is about to get very real about who’s all gay here… adding self-proclaimed “brutally honest Southern lesbian” Punkie Johnson to the ensemble!

Punkie Johnson is the first out black lesbian cast member in Saturday Night Live History. Here she is on a street corner in New York looking handsome in a baseball hat.

I personally feel great about this development. And her hat game.

Let’s run some stats on that: With the addition of Punkie Johnson, SNL just got roughly 100% more lesbian than last season, joining Kate McKinnon for a record breaking two (lol, yes TWO!) out lesbians in the cast at the same time. Punkie and Kate will obviously also be joining out gay cast member and writer Bowen Yang, which certainly makes this the gayest ass season of SNL yet — and it hasn’t even started yet. But wait! There’s more! Punkie Johnson will officially become first out Black lesbian in the show’s 46 year history. Gay gasp!

She’s not the first Black lesbian to become a Saturday Night Live repertory player — that was Danitra Vance, who joined the cast in 1985, although she was not out at the time. Vance was the second-ever lesbian cast member, after Denny Dillon, who also was not out. She was cast the same year as Terry Sweeny, the first openly gay male cast member of SNL, marking the first time there were two LGBTQ+ cast members at the same time. Vance left the show a year later, reportedly “frustrated with being relegated to stereotypical black female roles.” She passed away in 1994 from breast cancer.

Punkie Johnson also adds her name to the small cohort of only just 22 Black cast members that have worked over the course of ensemble comedy behemoth’s 46 years. That group includes only seven Black women: Yvonne Hudson (1980–1981), Danitra Vance (1985–1986), Ellen Cleghorne (1991–1995), Maya Rudolph (2000–2007), Leslie Jones (2014–2019), Sasheer Zamata (2014–2017), and Ego Nwodim (2018-present).

From the press release, here is Punkie’s bio:

Punkie Johnson is a comedian and writer whose recent credits include “Space Force,” “Corporate,” “Adam Ruins Everything” and “Bill Burr Presents: The Ringers.” She was a New Face at the Just for Laughs Festival in 2019 and is a proud paid regular at the world famous Comedy Store in Hollywood.

Hot damn!

You might also know Punkie from her NOTABLE guest starring role in last summer’s A Black Lady Sketch Show where she competed as the “dance biter” in what was easily one of the show’s most iconic and gay sketches (thank you to Autostraddle TV writer and noted Internet research sleuth Natalie for the hot tip):

While we’re here, let’s go ahead and peep this very funny stand-up of Punkie talking about how role playing saved her marriage:

I don’t know a lot about Punkie just yet. Luckily, I have a month to obsessively learn everythiiiing possible to there is learn! SNL comes back on October 3rd. Personally I look forward to getting on my Issa Rae and:

A gif of Issa Rae at the 2017 Emmy Awards. She is wearing a red dress on the carpet and says: "I'm rooting for everybody Black."

Join ‘Ahead of the Curve’ at the Drive-In on June 27 – Lesbian.com

Join ‘Ahead of the Curve’ at the Drive-In on June

For many of us right now, the thought of celebrating anything is unfathomable. We contemplated how best to approach our film’s world premiere, while recognizing and honoring the time we’re living in, and realized that making space to tell queer stories is in itself an act of resistance. Sharing the story of a visionary and unapologetic celebration of lesbian life is an act of resistance. Our movement was forged in joy and struggle — as queer people, our very existence is resistance – let’s use our joy as a powerful and nourishing tool to fuel our fight. Being together with our community for this night of celebration will energize us to keep doing the work that needs to be done. TICKETS.

We’re excited to announce that tickets for the World Premiere of AHEAD OF THE CURVE at the Drive-In are on sale now. Taking place on Saturday, June 27th at the West Wind Solano Drive-In Theater in Concord, CA, as part of the Frameline44 Pride Showcase, a limited block of tickets are available now at Frameline.org. Definitely get yours asap, this event will sell out fast.

To help make the film accessible to those who can’t attend the Drive-In in person, we’ve worked with Frameline to make a limited number of digital streams available as well. Please visit Frameline’s Digital Screening room for tickets.

Franco, Jen, Rivkah, and everyone on the AHEAD OF THE CURVE team can’t wait to share the story of Curve Magazine with you.

WORLD Premiere – 2020 Frameline44 Pride Showcase
Special Screening of AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Saturday, June 27, 2020
West Wind Solano Drive-In Theater
1611 Solano Way, Concord, CA

Tickets available here.

Tags: Ahead of the Curve, Jen Rainin, lesbian documentary, lesbian film

Posted & filed under Entertainment.