In the latest round of democratic debates held on July 30 and 31, another attempt of the 20 presidential hopefuls was made on the stage of brief touches on the big topics.
From healthcare to the economy, from immigration to broader racial injustices, the candidates in the race for the 2020 election jumped over one another to make an impression on the public as they battle it out to see which eight will proceed to the next round in September.
However, through the murky and complicated layers of issues that the presidential candidates are wading through, LGBTQ issues have only been briefly mentioned. Trans-identifying people being able to serve in the military hasn’t even been mentioned. Reproductive rights for the queer community and the lack of comprehensive healthcare was never acknowledged. A lack of federal protections against discrimination in areas of employment, housing, and public welfare was completely forgotten in the debates.
So, why are these issues that LGBTQ people face on a daily basis not even worth a fleeting thought? From openly gay candidate Mayor Pete to outspokenly lesbian moderator Rachel Maddow, the queer representation in the room calls an even louder alarm towards the rainbow elephant that no one is acknowledging.
“Everything is assumed that (the candidates) are for LGBTQ people, and no one is holding their feet to the fire as to how they are for LGBTQ people,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said to Bloomberg.
As the candidates are looking at the moments to define what sets them apart from the others, it’s no surprise that if the majority of them are for LGBTQ equality and justice, then that is not an issue to highlight. However, the lack of voice on these issues can also be a deafeningly loud demonstration of their future representation of queer folks; poorly, and most likely nothing at all.
As the Trump administration daily targets the queer minority in not only rhetoric but damaging policies, it’s up to the democratic candidates to prove they will reverse those decisions and stand up for the marginalized groups. Stepping up to the plate? They just haven’t.
“The fact is, Americans do not know that we are not equal in this country,” Ellis said. “And if we are not on that stage, and the candidates are not talking about that, then the American people don’t even know it’s an issue.”