Sanders, Yang to Skip CNN Town Hall on LGBTQ Issues

by Sam Cronin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday September 19, 2019

CNN will air a 4-and-a-half hour long town hall on LGBTQ issues, hosted by the Human Rights Coalition on October 10. The event, titled "Power of Our Pride," extended invitations to all Democratic presidential hopefuls who met the DNC's donor and polling thresholds. Candidates must have at least 130,000 donors and have reached at least 2% in polls taken between June 28, 2019 and September 25, 2019, according to CNN.

So far nine candidates have accepted invitations, but two notables have declined, citing scheduling conflicts. According to the Hill, Senator Bernie Sanders and businessman Andrew Yang will not attend the town hall.

The HRC says the event "constitute[s] the largest-ever audience for a Democratic presidential town hall devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues and will mark the first time in history that a major cable news network will air a presidential event devoted to issues of importance to the LGBTQ community."

The event will take place "on the eve of the 31st annual National Coming Out Day, a celebration of coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally," according to the HRC.

HRC President Alphonso David said in an announcement blog post, "This town hall comes at a critical time in our fight to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (LGBTQ) in this nation. Today, in 30 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who we are. Thirty-five states have yet to ban the dangerous and debunked practice of 'conversion therapy,' which is harming our young people. Hate crimes are rising, and more than 100 transgender people — most of whom are transgender women of color — have been killed in the United States in the last five years. Although the federal government should be protecting all residents, the Trump-Pence Administration is directly attacking our community by banning transgender troops from serving our country openly, undermining health care services for people living with HIV, and seeking to erase LGBTQ people from protections under law."

CNN has released a tentative schedule of the candidates' timeslots, subject to change as more invitations will be extended to candidates which meet the DNC requirements by September 25.

Below is the current schedule, according to CNN:

"Businessman Tom Steyer will be interviewed by CNN's Dana Bash at 7 p.m.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will be interviewed by Bash at 7:30 p.m.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will be interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper at 8 p.m.
California Sen. Kamala Harris, will be interviewed by Cooper at 8:30 p.m.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo at 9 p.m.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be interviewed by Cuomo at 9:30 p.m.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke will be interviewed by CNN's Don Lemon at 10 p.m.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be interviewed by Lemon at 10:30 p.m.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will be interviewed by Cooper at 11 p.m."

Check back with EDGE as the September 25 deadline approaches to find out if more candidates qualify for and agree to attend the event.

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