Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has given some emotional advice to a 9-year-old boy who asked how he could tell the world he is gay.

The boy, Zachary Ro, was one of audience members at the Colorado town hall in Denver on the weekend. Ro had submitted his written question, along with others, ahead of Buttigieg's appearance.

The pieces of paper were then put in a fishbowl, where Ro's was drawn and handed to the former Mayor of South Bend to read out loud on stage.

The boy, when interviewed later, said he decided on a whim to write a question, which said: "Thank you for being so brave. Would you help me tell the world I'm gay, too? I want to be brave like you."

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Buttigieg thanked Ro in turn for "being so brave", and told him: "I don't think you need a lot of advice for me on bravery."

As Buttigieg read out the question, Ro was then ushered on the stage as people in the audience chanted, "love means love".

Buttigieg, who is openly gay and who made history in his campaign by winning the most delegate equivalents out of Iowa in his presidential campaign, turned to Ro and responded.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks with 9-year-old Zachrey Ro. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks with 9-year-old Zachrey Ro. Photo / AP

"I don't think you need a lot of advice for me on bravery. You seem pretty strong to me," Buttigieg told him.

"It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone to go out there and tell the world and to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of 1000 people, thousands of people you've never met that's, that's really something.

Buttigieg went on: "The first thing is that it won't always be easy, but that's okay, because you know who you are. And that's really important, because when you know who you are, you have a centre of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you," he said.

Buttigieg also told Zachary to be mindful of "who's taking their lead from you, who's watching you and deciding that they can be a little braver because you have been brave."

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks to 9-year-old Zachary Ro. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks to 9-year-old Zachary Ro. Photo / AP

"When I was trying to figure out who I was, I was afraid that who I was might mean that I could never make a difference. And what wound up happening instead is that it's a huge part of the difference I get to make. I never could have seen that coming, and you'll never know whose life you might be affecting right now, just by standing here. There's a lot of power in that," the former mayor added.

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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, left, is kissed by his husband Chasten after a campaign rally. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, left, is kissed by his husband Chasten after a campaign rally. Photo / AP

After the event, Ro - who was at the rally with his parents - told the Colorado Sun he felt "inspired" by Buttigieg.

"It was exciting, and I felt really happy. I was glad I was able to tell everyone in the audience that I'm gay."

He added that he was "kind of nervous, excited, proud" to get advice on stage in front of thousands of people.