This year’s Democratic primary has, understandably, been largely centered around Trump and who can defeat him in November.
But when the conversation moved on from the current administration, LGBTQ issues were a prominent fixture in a way we have never quite seen before. It is a testament to how far the queer community and our concerns have come in recent years—and is a hopeful sign that if the Democratic nominee, with LGBTQ people’s help, is victorious in November, we can begin to see some of the damage done in recent years by Team Trump and Pence become undone.
Below, read up on six ways the 2020 Democratic primary has been the queerest one yet.
Buttigieg’s Historic CandidacyScott Olson/Getty Images
Pete Buttigieg made history as the first openly gay presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, and the first not only to win delegates but to win a state. His candidacy has been hailed as an important catalyst and inspiration for future generations of queer people hoping to get involved in politics.
Comprehensive LGBTQ PlatformsPeter Summers/Getty Images
Every Democratic candidate rolled out an LGBTQ platform at some point during the primary, with many—like Sen. Elizabeth “I Have a Plan for That” Warren, who released hers early—seeming to have thought of just about everything. Frontrunner Joe Biden’s platform pledges to bring back the gains made for queer rights under the Obama administration following the rollback of queer-inclusive policies we’ve seen under the Trump administration.
LGBTQ Forum and Town Hall
This election cycle saw not one but two events focused solely on LGBTQ issues, which are all too often left out of the debates.
In September, The Advocate, GLAAD, One Iowa, and The Gazette joined forces to host the LGBTQ Presidential Forum, where 10 Democratic presidential candidates were asked by a number of moderators who dug deeper into each of their perspectives and would-be agendas to better illuminate the options before voters.
The following month, CNN hosted a nationally televised town hall event called “Equality in America,” reaching the largest audience to date for a town hall dedicated to LGBTQ issues.
In total, nine candidates took part in the back-to-back town hall questioning, providing further insight into their plans, as well as a look at their ability to sell their vision to an audience of engaged citizens, both in the room and watching at home.
Protesters Make Their Concerns KnownMario Tama/Getty Images
We are a community built on taking direct action and demonstrating for our rights, so it is only fitting that LGBTQ activists made their demands clear to the candidates asking for their votes.
Protesters calling for trans lives to be protected against an epidemic of violence spoke out during the two aforementioned LGBTQ town hall and forum events, and the group Queers Against Pete attempted to push Buttigieg further left.
Creative Queer Donations InitiativesGetty Images
The queer community knows a thing or two about getting creative, and this year that showed up in part in the form of fundraising efforts.
Warren’s coffers were helped along by the efforts of adult performers who offered up free subscriptions to their OnlyFans accounts in exchange for proof of a donation to the Massachusetts senator’s campaign.
HRC’s Charlotte Clymer also helped drive campaign donations to Warren, offering up juicy details from her personal and working life.
LGBTQ Voter TurnoutGeorge Frey/Getty Images
One likely cause of increased attention to LGBTQ voters lies in the growing power of the LGBTQ vote, particularly as a higher percentage of younger people identify as members of the community.
According to exit polling from NBC News, in “11 of the Super Tuesday states, LGBTQ voters turned out at roughly double their states’ estimated LGBT populations.” Overall, 9% of all Democratic voters polled on Super Tuesday identified as LGBTQ, compared to an estimated 4.5% of the total population.
With data showing that the Democratic nominee, whoever that might be, could beat Trump if the LGBTQ vote turns out, those numbers are especially encouraging.