Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, who is now an LGBTQ rights and gun reform activist, will be participating in the first LGBTQ presidential forum of the 2020 cycle in Iowa tonight.
The forum, sponsored by GLAAD, One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate, will take place at Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 8-10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and will be livestreamed on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, ABCNews.com, and NBC News NOW.
The event will be hosted by transgender activist, actress, producer, and businesswoman Angelica Ross, of FX’s Pose, and will be moderated by The Advocate’s Zach Stafford, One Iowa’s Keenan Crow and The Gazette’s Lyz Lenz.
Wolf, now serving as media relations manager and development officer at Equality Florida, will be tweeting and commenting on some of the candidate’s LGBTQ proposals using the hashtage #LGBTQForum.
Ten Democratic hopefuls will participate in the forum: former Vice President Joe Biden, former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, U.S. Senators Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and author Marianne Williamson.
Each candidate will have several minutes to lay out their vision for ensuring LGBTQ equality, and will be asked specific questions by the moderators about some of the more pressing issues involving LGBTQ rights.
The forum comes after the Trump administration, according to GLAAD, has launched 125 different attacks — either in policy or in rhetoric — against LGBTQ Americans. The most recent incident involved Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who allegedly referred to transgender women as “big, hairy men” and expressed concerns about them accessing emergency shelters designated for women during a recent agency meeting.
A HUD spokesperson has denied accusations, published in a Washington Post story about the incident, that Carson regularly refers to transgender people in a derogatory manner.
“This LGBTQ Presidential Forum is a pivotal moment in the 2020 election cycle. It’s the first time that LGBTQ issues will be exclusively discussed by 2020 presidential candidates on a national stage,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “We look forward to hearing how the 2020 candidates plan to reverse the attacks and rollbacks of the Trump Administration and put LGBTQ Americans on a course to 100% acceptance.”