The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) announced it will host a CNN Democratic presidential town hall in California this fall focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
The event will take place the night before October 11, the 31st anniversary of National Coming Out Day. HRC said the October 10 primetime event will feature the largest ever audience for a Democratic presidential town hall devoted to LGBT issues.
The candidates will take questions from the audience and CNN journalists on specific LGBT concerns as well as their plans to promote equality and civility.
"This town hall comes at a critical time in our fight to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in this nation," said Alphonso David, who was recently named HRC president.
He added: "Today, in 30 states, LGBT people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who we are. Thirty-five states have yet to ban the dangerous and debunked practice of 'conversion therapy,' which is harming our young people. Hate crimes are rising, and more than 100 transgender people, most of whom are transgender women of color, have been killed in the United States in the last five years."
And he also said: "Although the federal government should be protecting all residents, the Trump-Pence Administration is directly attacking our community by banning transgender troops from serving our country openly, undermining health care services for people living with HIV, and seeking to erase LGBT people from protections under law."
Invitations to participate in the town hall will be extended to Democratic presidential hopefuls who meet the DNC's qualifications for the October 2019 primary debates. Candidates must reach 2% in at least four national polls identified by the DNC to determine eligibility.
So far, former Vice President Joe Biden, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have accepted HRC's invitation to participate in the event.
Recently, a poll found 70% of voters in the US would vote for a gay man as president.
Pete Buttigieg, the first gay candidate to
make traction in a presidential campaign