HRC announced that it will host over 80 watch and house parties across the country for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s historic Power of Our Pride town hall with Democratic presidential candidates. Broadcast exclusively live during prime time by CNN, the evening will constitute the largest-ever audience for a Democratic presidential town hall devoted to LGBTQ issues and will mark the first time in history that a major cable news network will air a presidential event devoted to issues of importance to the LGBTQ community.
“Nearly 100 watch parties across the nation, millions of LGBTQ people and our allies will tune in to be part of history as the Democratic candidates for president participate in the most high-profile presidential event ever devoted to LGBTQ issues,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The Power of Our Pride presidential candidate town hall will put front and center the issues most important to those who care about fairness and equality for the LGBTQ community. HRC and our grassroots army of three million members have been the tip of the spear against relentless attacks from the Trump-Pence administration, and we are eager to hear from this field of candidates about their vision for moving the country forward and advancing equality for all.”
The Power of Our Pride town hall will take place tonight at The Novo in Los Angeles, California. The event is taking place on the eve of the 31st annual National Coming Out Day, a celebration of coming out as LGBTQ or as an ally. The first National Coming Out Day was held on October 11, 1988, on the first anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights as a way of celebrating the power of coming out and promoting a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly.
CNN will air the event live during prime time, and it will be seen CNN and CNN en Español, across mobile devices via CNN's apps for iOS and Android, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Android TV. For reference, CNN’s July Democratic Presidential Debate drew more than 10.7 million viewers.
Nine of the twelve qualifying candidates have confirmed their participation, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary Julián Castro, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Representative Beto O’Rourke, Businessman Tom Steyer and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Businessman Andrew Yang were invited but declined to attend. Senator Bernie Sanders was invited and planned to attend but withdrew for personal reasons. The event will be moderated by CNN’s Dana Bash, Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, Nia-Malika Henderson and Don Lemon.
Over the last three years, the Trump-Pence administration has rescinded key protections for transgender students, appointed two new conservative justices to the Supreme Court, banned transgender troops from serving openly in the military, and has repeatedly sought to allow discrimination against LGBTQ people in healthcare, housing, public accommodations and other aspects of life. Despite campaigning on a promise to be a “friend” to the LGBTQ community, President Trump designated Mike Pence as his vice president, and has refused to advance bipartisan federal civil rights legislation -- the Equality Act -- which overwhelmingly passed through the U.S. House of Representatives this spring.
The historic conversation about critical issues of equality at tonight’s Town Hall is as important as ever. Against the backdrop of the Administration’s rollbacks, the Human Rights Campaign and its 3 million members have fought to pass the Equality Act, end the epidemic of violence against LGBTQ people and specifically Black trans women through our Transgender Justice Initiative, end the so-called practice of “conversion therapy,”roll back the ban on transgender troops in the military, prevent the spread of HIV, advance equality around the world, protect LGBTQ youth -- and much more.
These issues are of crucial importance to LGBTQ voters and allies. Today, there are an estimated minimum of 11 million LGBTQ voters nationwide -- along with millions of parents, siblings, friends, and allies -- who will play a decisive role in the 2020 election. Since 2016, HRC has identified more than 57 million “Equality Voters” nationwide who prioritize LGBTQ-inclusive policies, including marriage equality, equitable family law and laws that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In 2018, LGBTQ voters cast ballots in higher numbers than the general population. LGBTQ voters cast more than 7 million ballots in all -- a turnout of roughly 70%, compared to a turnout of 50% among the general population -- and comprised 6% of the entire electorate.
The HRC Foundation last hosted presidential town halls in 2004 and 2008. In 2004, the HRC Foundation’s town hall included Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Rev. Al Sharpton and Sen. Richard Gephardt. And the 2008 town hall included then-Senator Hillary Clinton, then-Senator Barack Obama, Sen. Mike Gravel, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Sen. John Edwards and Gov. Bill Richardson.