How to watch the first Presidential Debate -- and take action with GLAAD

The first Presidential Debate between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden is set to take place in Cleveland on Tuesday. The broadcast will start at 9 p.m. and will be available to watch on most broadcast and cable news channels. 

GLAAD has called upon moderators to explicitly ask questions about the LGBTQ community. Though LGBTQ people accounted for nearly 6 percent of the voting population in the 2018 midterm elections, the community has been widely left out of the conversation, which prompted GLAAD and several partners to hold their own town halls and debates during the primary last fall. GLAAD will watch the debates closely and hold the nominees and moderators accountable. Follow our responses in real time on Twitter.

Tell GLAAD which questions you want to hear asked and answered at glaad.org/debate.

The first debate will focus domestic issues and topics, including the the following that have specific implications relating to the LGBTQ community: 

1. The records of President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden

According to GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project, the current administration has made more than 175 attacks in policy and rhetoric against LGBTQ Americans. That contridicts recent claims from the White House about his record being “pro-gay” are categorically false according to independent fact-checkers.

In March 2020, Vice President Biden released a plan to advance LGBTQ people. His plan includes passing the Equality Act during his first 100 days in office, reversing the ban on transgender military service, and addressing violence against transgender women of color.

2. The Supreme Court

The day after Election Day, the Supreme Court will hear a case (Fulton vs City of Philadelphia) in which the Trump administration is actively fighting the city’s efforts to ensure a taxpayer-funded foster care agency includes qualified same-sex couples looking to become foster or adoptive parents. GLAADwants to know why the Trump administration has prioritized discrimination against LGBTQ families and people, and how a potential Biden administration might address these policies and ensure protection against discrimination afforded to any other citizen.

3. COVID-19

The FDA recently authorized emergency use of convalescent plasma treatment as an effective way to treat COVID-19, but gay and bisexual men who’ve survived COVID-19 are currently prevented from donating plasma that may help others recover. In April 2020, the FDA changed its year-long deferral period for men who have sex with men to donate blood or plasma to a 3-month deferral. Many members of the LGBTQ community see this 3-month deferral period as discriminatory, as it is out of line with science, and these screenings and restrictions aren’t faced by any other groups of individuals. We want to know why the Trump administration has not lifted the deferral period entirely, or on what scientific basis a deferral of any length is necessary. We want to know if a Biden administration would lift the deferral period entirely, and why it didn’t push for that instead of the reduction from a lifetime ban to one year during the Obama administration in 2014. 

4. Racism, injustice, and anti-transgender violence

At least 28 transgender people have been killed so far this year, most were Black trans women.The pandemic and economic crisis have disproportionately affected queer people of color, who already suffer from outsized job and housing discrimination. Yet the Trump administration is actively pursuing policies that put trans people in further danger, including a HUD policy under review to allow homeless shelters the right to turn away trans women from shelters matching their gender identity. President Trump’s ban on transgender military service remains in effect, even after the Supreme Court extended job protections for LGBTQ people nationwide, and as polls show Americans support their service. We want to know why the Trump administration believes rolling back protections for any citizen during a public health and economic crisis is warranted. We want Vice President Biden to explain his views on trans people and trans rights, and how his administration would protect and ensure opportunity for this historically targeted group.

Watch along with GLAAD by following us on Twitter (@glaad). We will be monitoring, providing context and background, and fact-checking in real time.

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