GLAAD Celebrates PBS and POLITICO Moderators For Including LGBTQ Questions in Tonight’s Presidential Primary Debate

NEWS: 2019 is deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, 27 trans people killed this year

ICYMI: Anti-LGBTQ Activists Used Anti-Trans Rhetoric To Sway Voters in Key 2019 Political Elections

NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, tonight released the following response to the inclusion of a LGBTQ question during the sixth presidential primary debate hosted by POLITICO and PBS NewsHour in Los Angeles. Tonight’s question reversed what was an alarming trend in the 2020 election cycle where zero questions on LGBTQ-specific issues were asked on the debate stage, and when anti-LGBTQ activists plan to use transgender Americans as a wedge issue in the upcoming 2020 elections. 

“With anti-LGBTQ activists planning an onslaught of false ads against LGBTQ Americans next year, it is important now more than ever for the candidates to proactively speak out against anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and tonight’s debate did just that,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “LGBTQ voters need to know that they have a true ally with the next president -- and tonight’s question about violence against transgender Americans rightfully brought to light an epidemic that continues to cripple the LGBTQ community, with 2019 being named the deadliest year on record for the trans community.”

The previous absence of LGBTQ-specific debate questions occurred as anti-LGBTQ activists plan to use the transgender community as a dividing issue in the upcoming 2020 elections. As GLAAD pointed out in its post-2019 election report, anti-LGBTQ activists used the media -- both traditional and digital media -- to air anti-trans ads in states like Kentucky and Louisiana, which attacked and put the safety of transgender Americans in jeopardy -- all in the hopes of galvanizing their base to win political elections. 

The effort by anti-LGBTQ activists has been executed in a top-down method starting with President Trump and his administration. Since taking office in 2017, President Trump has made 132 anti-LGBTQ attacks -- with a majority of his attacks coming focusing solely on the transgender community. This includes Trump’s ban on transgender servicemembers from serving in the nation’s armed forces and preventing trans Americans from getting access to affordable health care. The full list of anti-LGBTQ attacks can be found on GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project