Friday, October 11, 2019

Friend's Friday - The LGBTQ Town Hall

The LGBTQ Town Hall 

Thursday evening's Democratic Town Hall Q&A was like I had stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone -  "For your viewing pleasure this evening reality will be suspended; there will be issues that were once only whispered about and not discussed. A marginalized population will be in the forefront and presidential candidates will offer their solutions". This morning, as I look back, I cannot help but ask, "Was I dreaming?"  

The setting - CNN and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) teamed up to host the event. HRC has a spotted history of supporting the "T" part of the LGBTQ community. It seems that since one very unfortunate event, they have made efforts to be inclusive. Last evening the forum, the invited audience, the audience's questions and the moderators all made an effort to be inclusive.  

I heard the word transgender used not once, but many times.  There were several very raucous exchanges involving outspoken members of our transgender community and the moderators were respectful.

Here's the key points from each candidate's town hall: (From The CNN Political Site):

  • Cory Booker: The New Jersey senator called violence against the LGBTQ community a “national emergency” and noted that he has proposed an “Office on Hate Crimes and White Supremacy." Booker said: "We live in a country where we still see regular, everyday violence and intimidation and bullying against Americans, because of who they are."
  • Joe Biden: The former vice president spoke out about the need to root out discrimination, homophobia and the impact that a country’s approach to gay people should have on American foreign policy. Biden said in 2012 that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, a comment that put him – at the time – ahead of then-President Barack Obama.
  • Pete Buttigieg: The South Bend, Indiana, mayor said he would overhaul rules prohibiting gay men who have had sex within the last year from donating blood — recalling a poignant moment when his office led an annual blood drive. "So when I’m president, I will direct the FDA to revise the rules based on evidence, based on individual risk factors, and without regard to the prejudice that has driven the current policy.” O’Rourke: "Back Gay Marriage Or Get Taxed, Bigots." Buttigieg:" Religion used to discriminate LGBTQ people 'makes God smaller.'"
  • Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator said she was wrong, in 2012, to say “I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars” to pay for a transgender inmate’s gender confirmation surgery. "It was a bad answer,” she said. “And I believe that everyone is entitled to medical care and medical care they need. And that includes people who are transgender who, it is the time for them to have gender affirming surgery. I just think that’s important."

  • Kamala Harris: The California senator said that she, as president, would make ending HIV/AIDS within a generation a priority, telling an audience that she learned about the impact of the impact of the virus from her first campaign manager. She also vowed to tackle homelessness among LGBTQ youth. Klobuchar: "Conversion therapy should be illegal."
  • Beto O'Rourke: The former Texas congressman said that conversion therapy, a widely discredited practice that seeks to change the sexual orientation of gays, lesbians and bisexuals, “should be illegal” because it is “tantamount to torture.” He said: "As president, we will seek to outlaw it everywhere in this country."
  • Amy Klobuchar: The Minnesota senator said that so-called conversion therapy should be illegal because it “makes no sense at all.” Klobuchar also said she would recognize a third gender marker option on a federal level.
  • Julián Castro: The former Housing and Urban Development secretary said, as president, he would make foreign aid contingent on how the rights that other nations afford to the LGBTQ community. He also called on his successor, Ben Carson, to resign over disparaging remarks the Trump appointee made about transgender people.
  • Tom Steyer: The businessman said he would put measures in place to increase oversight over health care access to LGBTQ asylum seekers if elected president. "I think it's absolutely critical for the United States of America to treat people in a humane and decent fashion," he said.

There is a lot to unpack and full clips of many of the questions and responses are all over the internet.  Take the time; do read and watch. 


My takeaway: What a sharp contrast with the current Trump/Pence administration! Whenever Trump says L-G-B-T-Q he seems to be quickly searching for the Listerine.  We know he lied about his support for our community.  Pence is dangerous and would take away our rights - let's hope he never has the opportunity.  Let us do our part to make sure the Trump/Pence administration is voted out in 2020.  

We the "T" community was well represented in both questions and answers.  It is time - We all need to get to the LGBTQ bus and worked as a cohesive body.  Now that we have candidates who are 'on the record' to support our community, we need to do our part. Vote, volunteer and encourage others to understand the importance of these issues. Individuals are dying. Health care is being denied or is priced so high those in need cannot afford it. Basic human rights are being denied. The closet is no longer an option.   

Thank you CNN for hosting this Town Hall.  


  1. Rhonda, thanks for reporting on this. I don't know that many transgender people were even aware that it was happening last night. I only learned of it yesterday when I found an email from the HRC announcing it. I wish they could have announced it earlier, as I could have scheduled my day to be home when it started in the afternoon (here in the West). I did get home early enough to catch half of Biden's, and then I was surprised to learn that it was set up as individual candidates being questioned each half-hour. I had other obligations later, so I was able to then watch through O'Rourke's before I had to leave.

    My takeaway is that, although it was mostly preaching to the choir, the T in LGBT was finally given more of a spotlight by the HRC. I believe that LGBT has, in the past, been dictated by a group of white gay men. I have, personally and often, educated gay men about what being a trans woman really is. I have always been a little surprised by their lack of understanding. Of course, I realize that I have a lack of understanding about what it's like to be a trans person of color, myself. So, if nothing else, this town hall served to give some respect and consideration to the trans community. Just as a choir is made up of different sections, though, it is the sum of the parts that makes for a beautiful sound; no one section being more or less important than the other.

    1. Thanks Connie,

      I like what you said - "A choir is made up of different sections, though, it is the sum of the parts that makes for a beautiful sound"

      All working together can accomplish much!