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CNN, Human Rights Campaign to host town hall for 2020 candidates focused on LGBTQ issues

2019-09-06

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has confirmed participation in the LGBTQ-focused town hall for Democratic presidential candidates, which will be broadcast by CNN. (Paul Sancya / AP)

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has announced an LGBTQ-focused town hall for the 2020 Democratic candidates.

Entitled Power of Pride, the event will take place on Oct. 10 at the The Novo, an indoor music venue in Los Angeles. It’ll be broadcast live exclusively by CNN, CNN en Español, and on the network’s mobile platforms.

“For nearly 40 years, the Human Rights Campaign has fought to realize a world in which LGBTQ people are safe, equal and free in every aspect of our lives,” the recently named president of HRC, Alphonso David, said. “Today, at a time when our most basic civil rights and democratic values are under attack, our work has never been more urgent."

The town hall, which promises to be a marathon of ideas and insights that are vital to the LGBTQ voting block, will mark the first time that a major cable news network will devote its programming to a day-long debate of LGBTQ ideas.

Candidates will appear back-to-back throughout the afternoon and evening, and discuss the issues that matter most to the LGBTQ community.

To narrow down the long list of presidential hopefuls ? 20 at present ? candidates will need to meet the same criteria established by the DNC to qualify for the fall debate.

Ten of them, who have qualified for the DNC September debate in Houston have been officially invited, according to the HRC. Six have already confirmed: Former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, and Senators Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

"We are eager to hear from this field of Democratic presidential candidates about how they plan to win full federal equality, defend the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people, and protect the most vulnerable among us — both here in the United States and around the globe — from stigma, institutional inequality, discrimination, and violence,” added David.

The date for the historic meeting wasn’t chosen at random. Power of Pride is scheduled for the eve of National Coming Out Day, which took place on the first anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, on Oct. 11, 1988.

First celebrated in West Hollywood, the National Coming Out Day used the idea of heightened awareness as a way to promote a safer world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly.

Another event, where 2020 candidates will also be able to talk about their plans and ideas for the present and future of LGBTQ individuals, will take place at Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sept. 20.

The Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues — organized by a partnership among GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, and the publications The Gazette and The Advocate ? will bring attention to issues that are important to the community for the first time this election cycle.

Biden, Klobuchar and Castro have already confirmed their presence, along with New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker, former two-term congressman from Pennsylvania Joe Sestak, author Marianne Williamson, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

Openly-gay candidate Buttigieg has yet to confirm.