November 5, 2016 at 10:29 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Chelsea Clinton speaks at HRC, Equality N.C. event

Chelsea Clinton, gay news, Washington Blade

Chelsea Clinton speaks at a Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina event for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 5, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chelsea Clinton on Saturday spoke on behalf of her mother at an event the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina co-hosted.

“This is the most consequential election of my lifetime,” she told HRC President Chad Griffin and an audience of more than 200 people who gathered at a bar and performance venue near downtown Charlotte.

Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro and director Lee Daniels also spoke. Brittany Desgages, a field organizer with TurnOUT NC, a campaign that HRC and the Equality North Carolina Action Fund PAC launched to encourage LGBT North Carolinians to vote, opened the event.

Clinton told the audience she recently met a woman from Guatemala in Pennsylvania who said her son’s middle school classmates told him to “Go back to Mexico” and they “can’t wait until we build a wall to keep people like you out.” She also noted an 8-year-old girl with a gay father who told her “the boys in my school . . . say my dad’s going to have to go back into the closet” if Donald Trump is elected.

Clinton also said the girl told her there are monsters in the closet.

“We have to prove that love trumps hate is not just a statement,” she said.

Griffin said before Clinton took the stage that Trump “cynically tried to use” the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 49 people dead and 53 others injured for his advantage.

Trump in the days after the massacre reiterated his call to temporarily ban Muslims from the U.S. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told the Washington Blade last month that the Republican billionaire’s positions are the “antithesis of what Orlando is all about.”

“I never thought I would see in my lifetime the almost normalization of hate speech that seems to be the main strategy of Donald Trump in his campaign,” said Clinton in response to a black woman’s question about low early voting turnout among African American voters in North Carolina.

Clinton then proceeded to criticize Trump for an “almost daily diet of racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, jingoism, demeaning rhetoric against Americans with disabilities or Americans with mental health challenges or our veterans.

“I didn’t think I would see any of that, much less all of it,” she said.

A white member of the audience asked Clinton about how her mother would address police officers shooting unarmed black men.

An officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in September fatally shot Keith Scott. The incident sparked days of protests and violence throughout the city.

“We have to not only keep this on the agenda of our next, Madam President, but make sure this is an agenda up and down the ballot,” said Clinton.

Clinton spoke in Charlotte hours after President Obama stumped for her mother in the Queen City and at Fayetteville State University, a historically black university in Fayetteville, N.C. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed his state’s controversial House Bill 2 earlier this year, on Saturday appeared on stage with Trump during a rally in Wilmington.

A poll that WRAL, a Raleigh television station, conducted between Oct. 28-31 found Hillary Clinton trails Trump in North Carolina by a 44-51 percent margin. A survey that Quinnipiac University released on Nov. 2 notes she is ahead of her Republican opponent in the state by a 47-44 percent margin.

Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak at a midnight rally in Raleigh on Nov. 8.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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