Democratic candidates took the stage in Los Angeles for a town hall on LGBTQ issues on Tuesday night. Hosted by the Human Rights Campaign and CNN, this event allowed candidates to dive into policy discussions much more deeply than in the LGBTQ presidential forum last month.
The nine candidates in attendance covered a range of topics throughout the night, including HIV policy, the Equality Act, conversion therapy, LGBTQ-inclusive education, and hate crime law. The event came on the heels of a historic Supreme Court hearing, so LGBTQ discrimination was also a hot-button issue.
Unfortunately, not a single question was asked specifically about lesbians at the event. Bisexual and non-binary people only got one question each, according to Vox. “It was a glaring oversight and a missed opportunity,” the outlet reported.
Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren both shone as the strongest candidates throughout the evening.
Buttigieg came out of his shell, telling his emotional coming out story and skillfully commenting on LGBTQ health care access. He also explained, as a Christian gay man, that religious liberty is important but still “has limits when it comes to harming other people,” such as LGBTQ folks.
Warren, meanwhile, delivered the most memorable zinger of the night. She responded to a question about what she would say to someone who told her they believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
“Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that, and I’m gonna say, ‘Then just marry one woman. I’m cool with that,'” Warren said. “If you can find one.”
Elizabeth Warren was asked how she would respond to a person who says that marriage is "between one man and one woman"
— CNN (@CNN) October 11, 2019
Warren also vowed to get rid of anti-LGBTQ secretary of education Betsy DeVos if she becomes president.
Joe Biden fumbled through the event with several awkward and unnecessary statements, including one reference to gay bathhouses and casual sex. He also reiterated his support of marriage equality during the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, Kamala Harris tried to show her support of the community by sharing that her pronouns are “she/her/hers” as soon as she took the mic — only to be met with a cringe-worthy joke about pronouns by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. He later apologized on Twitter.
KAMALA HARRIS: My pronouns are she, her and hers.
CHRIS CUOMO: Mine, too.
HARRIS: Alright. pic.twitter.com/09gJ2pygjd
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) October 11, 2019
Trans people of color were also a central figure at the event, thanks to the efforts of protestors. They interrupted the town hall to call attention to violence against black trans women, chanting, “Trans people are dying!” “Trans lives matter!” One woman, Blossom C. Brown, also grabbed the mic to point out the fact that not a single black trans person had been allowed to ask a question yet. “That’s what anti-blackness looks like,” she said. “The erasure of black trans people.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the town hall was the first time in history that a major cable news network aired a presidential event devoted to LGBTQ issues.