August 28, 2019 at 5:41 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
LGBT forum for 2020 hopefuls gets boost from GLAAD, Cory Booker
Democratic Presidential debate, gay news, Washington Blade
(Screen capture via YouTube)

Hype continues to build for an upcoming Democratic presidential forum on LGBT issues as GLAAD announced Wednesday it would become a national partner for the event and a new candidate — Cory Booker — has announced he’ll participate.

GLAAD, the Los Angeles-based LGBT media watchdog group, will join the LGBT group One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate as national partners for the upcoming forum, which will take place in Iowa on Sept. 20.

“LGBTQ issues and the LGBTQ community have been largely left out of the 2020 presidential primary conversation so far, and this forum will bring these important topics to a national audience for the first time in this election cycle,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. 

The event is set to take place at Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. According to GLAAD, more than 350 people have RSVP’d.

As part of the partnership, the event will be livestreamed through GLAAD’s partnership across social and digital channels to a national and international audience, the LGBT media group announced.

Ellis also referenced a recent annual survey from GLAAD finding young Americans, who traditionally are the most supportive of LGBT people, are less supportive than in years past — blaming Trump for those numbers.

“We look forward to hearing how each 2020 candidate will fight for LGBTQ acceptance during this campaign and beyond and, as president, how each of them would repair the damage done to LGBTQ equality and acceptance by the Trump administration,” Ellis said.

This year’s survey, conducted by the Harris Poll, found the number of Americans ages 18-34 who are comfortable in all seven proposed scenarios with LGBT people dropped from 53 percent to 45 percent. That’s the second consecutive year that this age group has shown a drop.

Previously, candidates named as attendees for the LGBT forum were Joseph Biden, Julian Castro and Marianne Williamson and Joe Sestak. But on Wednesday, Booker announced on Twitter he’d also take part.

“Looking forward to this important conversation on September 20th,” Booker tweeted.

The upcoming forum recalls a similar event in 2008 when a plethora of Democratic candidates were seeking the presidential nomination. The forum was coordinated by the Human Rights Campaign and then-president Joe Solmonese. Lesbian singer Melissa Ethridge served as a moderator.

For the upcoming forum, the moderators will be Lyz Lenz, a columnist for The Gazette; Zach Stafford, editor-in-chief for The Advocate; and Keenan Crow, One Iowa director of policy and advocacy.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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