2020 Dems on LGBTQ...and T Again

October 11, 2019

Democratic presidential candidates held a town hall on LGBTQ issues on Thursday night, with most candidates focusing primarily on transgender rights.

The town hall, which was sponsored by CNN and the Human Rights Campaign, included nine candidates. The participants were asked questions relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) called her previous stance on taxpayer funds going to sex reassignment surgeries wrong.

"I think that was a bad answer," Warren said, reneging on her 2012 criticism of a federal court's ruling that Massachusetts must provide sex reassignment surgery to a convicted murderer.

Warren's comments follow the release of her plan for LGBTQ Americans on Thursday. Among other proposals, Warren has promised to direct the Bureau of Prisons to imprison transgender individuals in facilities in accordance with their gender identity.

Former congressman Beto O'Rourke also focused on the transgender community. He repeatedly stressed the voices of trans women of color, and the significant role they would play in his administration. O'Rourke claimed trans women, especially trans women of color, were being killed at an "alarming rate" in the United States, and with impunity.

After the event, O'Rourke even promised to hold a special town hall focusing specifically on "trans women of color."

In addition, O'Rourke took the position that religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage.

The town hall was also interrupted several times by protests from transgender activists in the audience. One audience member accused CNN of erasing black trans women, while another said that "misgender[ing]" or "alter[ing] a name" of a transgender person was "violence."

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo joked about his personal pronouns when introducing Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.).

"My pronouns are she, her, and hers," Harris said.

"She, her, and hers? Mine too," Cuomo said.

LGBTQ activists blasted Cuomo for his comment and called it "disappointing." Cuomo later apologized on Twitter.