The 2020 presidential race just got a lot more queer.
On September 20, candidates will take the stage at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to lay out exactly how they plan to fight for LGBTQ lives if elected president.
And The Advocate, alongside our close friends, is hosting.
Currently, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, and author Marianne Williamson have agreed to take the stage.
The candidates, ranging from highly known to brand-new to the national stage, will discuss how they will deal with LGBTQ and other civil rights issues, specifically in the heartland and rural America.
All Democratic presidential candidates have been invited to participate, and many are expected to confirm in the coming weeks.
One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization; The Gazette, an Eastern Iowa daily paper and online news source; and The Advocate will host this event in Sinclair Auditorium at Coe.
And the event is free, with required pre-registration now available here.
Several leading elected officials from Eastern Iowa are serving as honorary cochairs for the LGBTQ Presidential Forum, including Congressman Dave Loebsack, Iowa Sen. Zach Wahls, Iowa Sen. Rob Hogg, Iowa Rep. Liz Bennett, Linn County Democratic Party Chair Bret Niles, and Hiawatha City Councilwoman Aime Wichtendahl.
“This event will focus on LGBTQ people living in the heartland and their needs,” One Iowa Interim Executive Director Courtney Reyes said. “The overarching narrative that LGBTQ people in the U.S live in urban coastal areas ignores the millions of LGBTQ individuals living and working in the middle of the country."
"We look forward to hearing what the presidential candidates have to say to this often overlooked but politically powerful community," Reyes continued.
“At The Advocate, we are committed to serving LGBTQ populations living in big cities and small towns with vital news and information to educate, inform and inspire,” said Zach Stafford, editor in chief.
“Creating a forum where our issues are front and center will allow the LGBTQ community to make clear and informed decisions about the candidates seeking our valuable votes," he continued.
Each candidate will have individual stage time to address the audience, followed by a one-on-one moderated Q&A session with Gazette political reporter James Q. Lynch, Stafford, and One Iowa Director of Policy and Advocacy Keenan Crow.
Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., and the program will run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.