Democratic presidential hopefuls will face off in a public forum on LGBTQ issues this fall. The event, slated for National Coming Out Day on October 10, marks the first time Democratic candidates have debated queer issues since 2008, when Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Barack Obama faced off in a Human Rights Campaign Foundation forum.
A lot has changed in the past 11 years. For one thing, there’s an openly gay candidate in the race now (South Bend, IN, mayor Pete Buttigieg), reflecting the dramatic shift in attitudes toward LGBTQ people symbolized most prominently in the legalization of same-sex marriage. Whereas only one candidate in 2008—Kucinich, then an Ohio congressman—spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage, there is little apparent daylight between the 2020 candidates’ current stances on LGBTQ rights. There has also been a major cultural awakening around transgender rights and gender identity.