Angelica Ross, one of the stars of the FX series Pose, will host a historic presidential forum on LGBTQ+ issues.
According to Deadline, she will take on Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Sestak, Elizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson in the national 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues. The forum is presented by GLAAD, The Advocate, One Iowa, and The Gazette. It will be livestreamed from Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Billy Gilman, the country artist and former contestant on The Voice, will perform the National Anthem for the event.
The forum marks a historic moment, considering Ross will be the first transgender woman to host a presidential forum. This will also be the first presidential forum that will exclusively focus on LGBTQ+ issues, according to NewNowNext, especially at a moment when previous presidential debates have glossed over the subject. Ross will be joined by GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis on the stage and they will challenge the presidential candidates on pressing LGBTQ+ issues. During the forum, each candidate will have an opportunity to discuss their plan for improving queer and trans lives across America.
The fact that Ross is hosting the event holds power, considering the current crisis of Black trans women being murdered at alarming rates. Just this week, The Advocate reported Ja’leyah-Jamar as the 19th trans woman to be killed this year. Eighteen of these murders have been Black trans women. Earlier this month, Bee Love Slater was another Black trans woman murdered. Her body was found burned beyond recognition, according to The Hill.
Ross has consistently spoken up about trans rights and she is the founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a trans-centered organization that helps empower folks in poverty with technical training that creates social impact and brings economic empowerment to marginalized communities.
Although Ross didn’t explicitly say she would tackle trans murders at the presidential forum, she tweeted, “I’m so READY & excited to be hosting the #LGBTQforum on Friday with @glaad, @OneIowa, @TheAdvocateMag and @gazettedotcom to ensure that presidential candidates are talking about issues important to LGBTQ voters! Stay tuned!”
She also unapologetically called out presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke, who have yet to RSVP for the event. Although, later on she learned that Sanders had prior commitments.
You can find out what the other presidential candidates have to say when the forum livestreams here on Friday, September 20 at 7 P.M. CT.