It’s election season, which means we can look forward to a year of learning about the possible candidates and seeing who ends up making terrible gaffes when trying to talk about the queer community. In order to help educate candidates about LGBTQ issues, the Human Rights Campaign and UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs will hold a forum for Democratic presidential candidates.
In order to participate in the event, candidates will need to poll at least 1% in three different national polls or receive donations from at least 65,000 people in more than 20 states. This will be the third such HRC forum. In 2004, HRC hosted John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley Braun, Howard Dean, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Richard Gephardt for a forum on LGBTQ issues, and some of the attendees went on to prioritize LGBTQ issues in their work. In 2007, in preparation for the 2006 election, HRC held an even larger forum, which was broadcast on LOGO and moderated by Margaret Carlson. Then-candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, and Bill Richardson.
The 2008 forum was incredibly dramatic and touched on issues like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and gay marriage. Besides changes in policy, this years forum will also be different because it may include an openly gay candidate — it appears that Pete Buttigieg already meets the qualifications to attend the forum.
“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,” said HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement reported by The Advocate. “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.”
The forum will take place at UCLA on the evening before National Coming Out Day.