In the coming weeks, there will be two LGBTQ forums for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. And Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the only frontrunner who is skipping both events.
Tonight, the organization GLAAD and The Advocate are co-sponsoring a forum in Iowa, the first primary state. UCLA and the Human Rights Campaign will host an LGBTQ-focused town hall on October 10 in Los Angeles.
Sanders is currently third in Real Clear Politics‘s average of national polls, behind former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Biden and Warren will be attending both events.
Pose star Angelica Ross is scheduled to host tonight’s LGBTQ Forum. She tweeted that he would be visiting historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina, a black barbershop, and the civil rights museum, presumably the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
Found out Bernie has a prior commitments to visit HBCUs in North Carolina and Prestige Barber College (a black barbershop) and will be touring the civil rights museum. pic.twitter.com/BQPj7iglZ7
— Angelica Ross (@angelicaross) September 16, 2019
CNN reports that Sanders’s campaign cited “scheduling conflicts” to explain why he won’t go to the LGBTQ Town Hall in October.
Since the UCLA/HRC LGBTQ Town Hall was announced in March of this year, it’s not clear what issues he had in scheduling an appearance at one of the few LGBTQ forums in this long primary season.
His website indicates general support for important issues facing LGBTQ people today. It briefly mentions bills to ban discrimination, measures the a Sanders administration could take to fight anti-LGBTQ discrimination in schools and health care, and police harassment of transgender women of color.
Businessman Andrew Yang is the only other candidate who qualified for both forums who will not be attending either.
Former Representative Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) will not attend the LGBTQ Forum tonight, but he will attend the UCLA/HRC town hall in October.