Following the presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, activists are urging the moderator of the upcoming vice presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence to include questions focused on the LGBTQ community.
Led by the Human Rights Campaign, over a dozen LGBTQ and civil rights groups, including the Center for American Progress and the LGBTQ Victory Fund, have signed off on a letter to debate moderator Susan Page of USA Today and the Commission on Presidential Debates imploring the candidates be grilled on their LGBTQ records.
“In your role as moderator, we hope you will ensure the candidates for Vice President address the issues Americans care about,” the letter reads. “In that light, we…implore you to address LGBTQ issues at the upcoming debate. With over 11 million LGBTQ adults able to vote in the upcoming election, and 57 million Equality Voters who prioritize LGBTQ issues at the ballot, it will do our nation and community a disservice to exclude these issues as a part of the conversation.”
The letter goes on to address the Trump administration’s rollback on Obama-era transgender protections in healthcare, saying the move leaves the LGBTQ community more vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. The letter further references the Trump administration’s opposition to the Equality Act and the scale-back on LGBTQ protections in education helmed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
The request for more LGBTQ debate questions comes amidst an underrepresentation of LGBTQ issues on past debate stages. In 2016, presidential and vice-presidential debate moderators didn’t ask a single LGBTQ-related question, and of the 1,208 questions asked in the eleven Democratic primary debates this election cycle, only three regarded LGBTQ issues.
The vice-presidential debate between Harris and Pence is scheduled for October 7 at 8pm. It will be hosted at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. It will be streamed live via NBC News here.