On September 20th, GLAAD, The Advocate, and The Gazette organized a presidential forum hosted by Angelica Ross. Even a decade ago, a forum like this would have been almost unimaginable, but in 20-bi-teen we are seeing it happen, at least for one political party. The event was held in Iowa and attended by presidential candidates: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson.

I watched the event as it streamed on YouTube. The quality was great, but not without sound issues (sometimes the volume of speakers would get louder or softer). Several themes were repeatedly brought up by candidates and hosts: ban conversion therapy, ban gay/trans panic defense, repeal the trans military ban, trans lives matter, and the Equality Act. Solidarity with other and intersecting marginalized communities were also reinforced through denouncements on immigration policies and the Secretary of Education Betsy Devos.

There were a few notable moments made by the candidates. Here are some of the highlights from the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’:

Winners

Cory Booker – came onto the stage and had a cute flirty moment with Zach Stafford. He was confident with LGBTQ+ terminology, and informed on stats and names. 

Elizabeth Warren – started her time naming all the trans women of color murdered this year.

Losers

Joe Biden – corrected the host several times, and couldn’t directly answer several questions, even refuting a fact check.

Tulsi Gabbard – asked how we could trust her with past statements marginalizing trans communities, “my record speaks for itself.” 

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