Democratic candidates take to LGBTQ forums for 2020 run
With the presidential elections scheduled for 2020, Democratic candidates are already hitting the podium. Their next stop: LGBTQ forums where they can appear before the community.
The latest is an upcoming forum at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this September 20 and will have LGBTQ media watchdog group GLAAD, One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate as partners.
LGBTQ forums: Democrats in Iowa
GLAAD recently joined the Democratic presidential forum in Iowa focusing on LGBTQ issues, even as a new candidate will be joining the forum: Cory Booker.
In a statement, GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said: “LGBTQ issues and the LGBTQ community have been largely left out of the 2020 presidential primary conversation so far, and this forum will bring these important topics to a national audience for the first time in this election cycle.”
“We look forward to hearing how each 2020 candidate will fight for LGBTQ acceptance during this campaign and beyond and, as president, how each of them would repair the damage done to LGBTQ equality and acceptance by the Trump administration,” Ellis further said.
The GLAAD chief was referencing a recent survey that noted young Americans as being less supportive of the LGBTQ community as compared to the past.
This event will be livestreamed through GLAAD’s social and digital channels to national and international audiences.
Other candidates who have signaled their attendance at the forum include Joseph Biden, Julian Castro, Marianne Williamson, and Joe Sestak.
LGBTQ forums: Appealing to trans voters
The National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund, a political advocacy group, have set up sessions for the transgender members of the community and focused on transgender rights.
The group has invited candidates to talk to them about their experiences and policies with transgender individuals. Already, they have several conversations online with more to follow.
“Trans people have been under such attack for the last two-and-a-half years. But we’ve also been growing in strength and growing in acceptance in the community and the world, and growing in power,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told TIME in an interview.
“One of the most important things for trans people right now is who gets elected president next year. It means something if President Trump is re-elected. It means something if someone else is elected. It is life and death for trans people,” Keisling said.
Of the candidates, they already have conversations with Booker, Bernie Sanders, and Kirsten Gillibrand. They will be talking to Julian Castro and Amy Klobuchar soon.
Notable here is that Keisling’s conversations with the candidates focus mainly sexual orientation and transgenders, and that they don’t talk much about gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.
LGBT forums: HRC and UCLA push
Of course, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation has scheduled its own forum in Los Angeles at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs this October 10.
“If any LGBTQ person were to take a cross-country drive from HRC headquarters in Washington, D.C., to UCLA’s campus, their rights and protections under the law would change dozens of times at every city line and state border,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
Griffin added: “Millions of LGBTQ people will have their rights on the ballot in 2020– but today we are also a powerful voting bloc that will help determine the outcome.”
During the 2018 elections, exit polling recorded more than seven million LGBT voters or six percent of the total turnout.
Likewise, the HRC Foundation has been hosting presidential forums in 2004 and 2008.
So, which one will you watch?