Angelica Ross to Host Presidential Forum on LGBTQ Issues

“Pose” actress and transgender activist Angelica Ross will host the upcoming presidential forum on LGBTQ issues, GLAAD announced.

Ross, the first transgender actress to star in back-to-back TV shows with her roles in Ryan Murphy’s “Pose” and “American Horror Story,” is also the first transgender person to host a presidential forum, according to OUT Magazine. GLAAD announced she will host the national 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues on September 16. Ross took to Twitter to share her excitement about hosting the forum.

“I’m so READY [and] 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!” Ross tweeted on September 16.

The forum is set to be held on September 20 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and will provide an important platform for presidential candidates to exclusively discuss LGBTQ issues. GLAAD announced that it was joining One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ organization, The Gazette, and The Advocate in May as national partners for the upcoming forum at Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium.

“This LGBTQ Presidential Forum is a pivotal moment in the 2020 election cycle. It’s the first time that LGBTQ issues will be exclusively discussed by 2020 presidential candidates on a national stage,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, in a statement.

“We look forward to hearing how the 2020 candidates plan to reverse the attacks and rollbacks of the Trump Administration and put LGBTQ Americans on a course to 100% acceptance.”

As of September 16, the confirmed participants for the forum include former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak and author Marianne Williamson, according to the news release. During the forum, each candidate will discuss their plans to improve LGBTQ acceptance across the US.

“We’re excited to have GLAAD on board as we shine a light on the lives and needs of LGBTQ people living in the heartland,” said One Iowa Interim Executive Director Courtney Reyes in a statement. “The overarching narrative that LGBTQ people in the U.S live in urban coastal areas ignores the millions of LGBTQ individuals living and working in the middle of the country.”

“We look forward to hearing what the presidential candidates have to say to this often overlooked, but politically powerful community.”

The Gazette, Eastern Iowa’s daily newspaper, and The Advocate, an LGBTQ news magazine, announced the LGBTQ forum is free to the public with required pre-registration. There will also be eight elected officials from Eastern Iowa serving as honorary co-chairs for the presidential forum.

“At The Advocate, we are committed to serving LGBTQ populations living in big cities and small towns with vital news and information to educate, inform and inspire,” said Zach Stafford, The Advocate editor-in-chief, in a statement. “Creating a forum where our issues are front and center will allow the LGBTQ community to make clear and informed decisions about the candidates seeking our valuable votes.”

Ross is also known for her activism. She is the president of Miss Ross, Inc. and is the founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, an organization started in 2014 to support the LGBTQ community by providing education and jobs. Ross was also named “1st Foot Soldier of the Year” in 2015 by Melissa Harris Perry.

The activist is also involved in electoral politics. In 2016, Ross introduced presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a campaign event and wrote about her support for Clinton in a blog post, indicating she was not 100 percent supportive of the Democratic candidate at first.

“I recognized that Hillary and I share a desire to be innovative at the intersections of capitalism and social justice, but we both have been met with ceaseless criticism from all directions,” Ross previously wrote. “When you’re ready, willing, able, and qualified to take the lead and you are anyone other than a white man, a constant questioning of your qualifications and intentions awaits you.”

The forum will be livestreamed on September 20 from 7:00-9:00 PM Central Time. To watch the forum, click here.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.