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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, September 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In what was touted as the first 2020 candidate forum devoted exclusively to LGBTQ issues, ten of the twenty-two Democrat presidential contenders tried desperately to win the approval of American voters who identify as gay or transgender.  

Livestreamed Friday night from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this was also perhaps the first national presidential forum to be emceed by a transgender ‘woman,’ actor Angelica Ross, star of the television shows Pose and American Horror Story, who expressed delight that “this is taking place during bisexual awareness week.” (The video of the Forum is available on Youtube here.)


For an event that often touched on the importance of respecting diversity, it was impossible not to note that the audience packing the auditorium was at least 99% white.   


Though they struggled to differentiate themselves from one another, one after another the candidates promised the same narrow range of policies and actions during their first 100 days in office, pledging to sign the Equality Act; ban “conversion therapy”; and overturn the Trump Administration’s “trans military ban.”  

Their repeated gratuitous condemnations of President Donald J. Trump and his administration’s policies, as bigoted and discriminatory, also grew monotonous.     

A couple of the candidates did, however, find other ways to distinguish themselves.

Cory Booker

When he strutted on stage, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker managed to create a memorable moment by greeting host Zack Stafford —who is gay— not with a handshake or a simple hug, but by wrapping his arms around him and lifting him off the ground. 

After the verklempt and tickled pink Stafford regained his composure, he turned to the audience and said, “He’s flirting.”  

“I’m not flirting,” claimed the never-married Booker.

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A few minutes later as Stafford posed questions to Booker, Stafford again turned to the audience and assured them, “I’m fanning myself because it’s hot.  It’s actually hot up here.”   

Booker coyly asked, “Am I making you uncomfortable?” clearly delighting himself with the gay sexual inuendo he had injected into his performance.    

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden also separated himself from the rest of the pack, but not as he would have liked.  

Interviewer Lyz Lenz, a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, set Biden back on his heels, pelting him with questions about his voting record while serving in the U.S. Senate. 

Lenz wanted to know how LGBT people could trust Biden since he had voted in the 1990s for the “Crime Act,” which she said disproportionately affected LGBTQ people of color; for “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” which prohibited openly gay men and women from serving in the military; and for the “Defense of Marriage Act.”  

Their conversation reached its nadir when Lenz pointed out that Biden had recently praised Vice President Mike Pence as a “decent guy,” eliciting boos from the crowd. 

Since, Lenz claimed, Pence has opposed LGBTQ issues, “How can LGBT trust that you won’t compromise on issues that put them at risk in order to reach across the aisle to people like Pence?”

Irritated, Biden told Lenz, “You’re a lovely person.”   

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg, said that as South Bend’s Mayor, he was not able to participate in the annual Mayor’s Office Blood Drive.  Buttigieg was calling attention to the FDA’s regulation that homosexual men who have had sexual relations with another male in the last year are banned from donating blood as a precaution against spreading HIV.  

He said that this is just one example of the many ways gays are “excluded in this country,” and that as president, he would make sure the FDA’s policies are not based on “old prejudices.”

When his interviewer suggested that “Religious Liberty” has been “weaponized” against gays and transgenders, Buttigieg, who has famously tried to twist Christianity to justify his pro-gay and pro-abortion views, again mounted his pulpit. 

The South Bend Mayor said that the thing that is so upsetting about religious liberty exemptions is that not only are they abusive toward LGBT Americans, they are “abusive toward the idea of faith.”  

“Faith is supposed to be about making people whole, and making people better off.  And when faith is used as an excuse to harm somebody, to me that’s an insult to religion itself.”

While more diplomatic than former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who in 2016 famously told an audience of gays and lesbians that people who disagree with them are “Deplorables,” Buttigieg managed to avoid name-calling as he delivered a similarly condescending message.

“We should recognize that there are people from a certain generation who have been brought up to reject who we are, and they’re on a journey, and we should help them, rather than drag them into the ‘right place,’” he said.