Community members weigh in on LGBTQ presidential forum

Published: Sep. 20, 2019 at 10:25 PM CDT
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It was a sold-out event at the Sinclair Auditorium at Coe College, as hundreds lined up to watch 10 democratic presidential candidates address LGBTQ issues.

Forum attendees and others who attended watch parties, all agreed it's about time they are shining a light on the issues that affect LGBTQ communities across the country and in Cedar Rapids.

“Never has it been more critical than now as to who we nominate," said John West, who traveled from Chicago to see the forum.

He says the issues are pressing and must be addressed now.

“When you look at the number of transgender lives that have been lost, particularly transgender lives of color, I want to hear about what they are going to do to address that," said West.

That’s why he is supporting Kamala Harris.

Lillian McKenzie supports Pete Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate running for president.

“We're looking at issues of whether or not we're going to allow trans people to serve in our military and today is the anniversary of the ending of “Don't ask, Don't tell”, and I think that's a big issue," said McKenzie.

At Belles Basix, one person said he wanted to see the event at Coe in person, but couldn't get a ticket since it had been sold out for some time.

Having ten candidates all focused on LGBTQ issues is a first for presidential politics.

"There are gay people, not just in the major metropolitan areas. They are everywhere," said Owner Andrew Harrison.

Sharon McMulin was listening to how candidates would protect people from discrimination at work and in health.

“I want to make sure that I can't be fired from a job that, I can't be discriminated in housing, and that I can get medical care regardless of my status," she said.

However, what they want more than anything is more than just lip service.

“I’m really looking for whose going to be able to speak to experience, to their record and who can really say that I'm going to champion LGBTQ issues," said Cody Howell, who also attended the forum.