A man lost his job after leaving bigoted comments on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's family photo.
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An image of Pete and Chasten Buttigieg.
Credit: Getty Images.

On New Year's Day, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, posed for a family picture in the White House. In each of their arms rested their babies, Joseph and Penelope.

Chasten posted the picture on Instagram and wrote: "2021 brought with it many challenges, but it also gave us a lot to be grateful for. #HappyNewYear, friends. Here's to a peaceful and joyful 2022!"

The post was greeted with well wishes and some admonishment that the couple was covering their handsome faces with masks. Then there was this trolling remark by Andre Kravchenko, who wrote, "Someone gave these [censored] kids??? Holy [censored.]"

Chasten responded, "In the year 2022, you'd think these people would be wise enough to post their homophobia from an alt account, not one easily connected to their job. Rather embarrassing for @AmericanHomes4Rent, a company that claims to be an equal housing provider and one that's 'building a culture of inclusion and belonging.' I worry for your tenants."

As a gay dad myself and father of two teen boys I have raised from birth, I relate to Chasten's frustration. We can't sit back and passively accept attacks on LGBTQIA+ parents and families. Through the years, my family has experienced both outright and subtle attacks.

When one of my articles was published on Yahoo News explaining why I wrote as a "gay dad," the ensuing discussion consisted of 13 strangers calling me a pedophile. When interviewing private schools for my sons, a Christian school informed me that my sons would be welcome there; however, they constantly reminded that our family was not "God's plan for a family."

My sons only experienced one real instance of harassment due to having a gay father. A classmate spread the word around school that the Watson boys should be avoided because "they were gay." The school responded immediately and the girl was called in with her parents to have a discussion with the administration. The harassment stopped and my sons received support from their schoolmates. It was a teachable moment.

A teachable moment is exactly what Andre Kravchenko was given. It turns out he has not been employed by American Homes 4 Rent for some time. The company's Human Rights Statement reads, "We ask our team members to respect all people of any race, religion, spirituality, age, class, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity / gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration or veteran status."

In an Instagram post, they clarified their relationship to Kravchenko. "We were saddened to learn that a former employee—or someone using their account—recently posted an offensive comment aimed at @chasten.buttigieg and @pete.buttigieg. We want to clarify that, despite this individual's outdated LinkedIn account information, they have not been employed by our company for 5 years, and further do not represent our beliefs and policies. We do not approve of nor do we condone discriminatory language or behavior."

While Kravchenko did not work for American Homes 4 Rent, he did work somewhere. His current employer is—or rather was—a company named Skyline Properties.

Skyline Properties also took to Instagram to make their position, and their actions, clear: "After spending time to properly review the comments made by this individual, we have found that this was not some fluke, mistake, or hacking situation, and have promptly fired him from Skyline Properties. That being said, we would like to sincerely apologize to the Buttigieg family and the LGBTQ community for any harm that came from the bigotry of this individual. We do not tolerate any hate speech of any kind, nor do we have a place for any brokers who participate in such hateful behaviors. We must be as clear as possible when we say we have zero tolerance towards this behavior."

Hopefully, lesson learned for one bigot. But, the real lesson here is that the fight to bring dignity to all families is not done. There are many more teachable moments ahead.