Angelica Ross. (Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)
Pose actress Angelica Ross is slated to host the national 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues on 20 September.
Ross will chair the event–sponsored by GLAAD One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate–which will feature an array of blue-tie wearing lawmakers all vying for the White House.
Confirmed guests include: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Sestak, Elizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson.
Each politician will be asked to present their plan to improve LGBT+ rights in the US.
Amid candidates clashing on economics and healthcare plans, the forum will provide a vital space for potential presidents to level critiques and approaches to LGBT+ issues.
Issues that, in the main Democratic debates, are scarcely spoken about.
“More than 124 anti-LGBTQ attacks in policy and rhetoric from the Trump administration, including the president’s ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military and the administration’s opposition to the Equality Act,” GLAAD wrote in a press release on the announcement.
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis added in the release: “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 percent acceptance.”
Ross will join GLAAD president and Ellis onstage for the event, which will be broadcast live from Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Iowa this week.
Country artist and contestant on season 11 of The Voice Billy Gilman is set to perform the National Anthem at the event.
Angelica Ross is “ready and excited” to make history as first trans person to host the LGBT+ forum.
The founder of Trans Tech Social, a skill-based co-working community for trans folk, Ross took to Twitter to announce the news.
She tweeted that she’s “ready and excited” to hose the forum and will “ensure that presidential candidates are talking about issues important to LGBTQ voters”.
Moreover, she also asked why several high-profile contenders–chiefly Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke–have not flagged their attendance.
I’m so READY & excited to be hosting the #LGBTQforum on Friday with @glaad @OneIowa, @TheAdvocateMag and @gazettedotcom to ensure that presidential candidates are talking about issues important to LGBTQ voters! Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/OiJVrOMiKZ
— Angelica Ross (@angelicaross) September 16, 2019
According to Ross, Bernie has “prior commitments to visit HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities] in North Carolina and Prestige Barber College (a black barbershop) and will be touring the civil rights museum.”
It is unclear whether O’Rourke will directly respond to Ross. Although, earlier this year he unrolled his sixth policy plan that focused on LGBT+ rights.
Heavy in executive actions, the former El Paso, Texas, congressperson said he would overturn the widely pilloried trans troops ban as well as cracking down on conversion therapy.
However, none of the four Republicans running for president—Mark Sanford, Donald Trump, Joe Walsh, and William Weld—have announced plans to attend the debate.
Furthermore, the forum will be open to all runners regardless of their position in the polls, one that is proving to be a vicious race between the heavyweights.
Democratic candidates not to RSVP to the forum also include: Bill de Blasio, Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, Wayne Messam, Tim Ryan, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang.