The Human Rights Campaign has confirmed that progressive presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will now attend the HRC/CNN LGBTQ Town Hall in Los Angeles October 10. The confirmation comes after it was reported that he would be the only major candidate to have missed both last month's LGBTQ Presidential Forum and the upcoming town hall.
The Democratic candidates already slated to attend the HRC/CNN Town Hall are Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Tom Steyer, and Beto O’Rourke.
While all of the front-runners but Sanders were in attendance at the LGBTQ Forum on September 21, Sanders was on a tour of historically Black colleges and universities.
Pose's Angelica Ross, who hosted the LGBTQ Forum, was met with outrage from Sanders's supporters when she called out his absence in her opening remarks that night.
“I was disappointed to not see all of the candidates here. I was further disappointed to hear this was not the only LGBTQ event Bernie was making other commitments for. You don’t show up for both of our LGBTQ events? That’s obviously telling us all we need to know,” she later told The Guardian.
Ross acknowledged that Sanders was touring HBCUs but she also pointed out that the intersections of being black and queer.
“I’m already struggling as a Black trans advocate to get folks in my own Black community to understand that being Black and being LGBTQ are not mutually exclusive. What I hope Bernie would learn is you don’t have to pander to just one aspect of the Black community," Ross said. "If he would have been at the LGBTQ forum tonight, he would have seen we were talking about issues affecting people of color. I think it was a huge misstep on his part. And I’m not here for any of the excuses. I say, 'Make it up to me. Make it up to us.'''
Among those in attendance at the LGBTQ Forum sponsored by The Advocate, GLAAD, One Iowa, and Iowa newspaper The Gazette were Warren, Harris, Booker, Biden, Buttigieg, Castro, Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Joe Sestak, and Marianne Williamson.
Since Donald Trump took office as president, his administration has taken over 100 actions to roll back rights and safety for LGBTQ people, including the trans military ban and his administration's support of allowing businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
There have been three major Democratic debates in the past few months, but moderators have not posed a single question regarding LGBTQ equality to the candidates. A recent report highlighted how coverage of LGBTQ issues has "essentially vanished" from mainstream media outlets "after Trump was elected and have remained largely absent from coverage for the past three years."