Democratic presidential candidates to be at Iowa LGBTQ forum

Skyline of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by Paul Sableman/Flickr)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Four of the more than 20 Democratic presidential candidates will participate in a forum on LGBTQ issues on Friday, Sept. 20, in Cedar Rapids.

According to a press release from One Iowa, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro,former Pennsylvania representative Joe Sestak and author Marianne Williamson will be there, though all Democratic candidates have been invited.

Forum is being hosted by One Iowa, the state LGBTQ rights group; The Gazette of Cedar Rapids; and the Advocate.

“This event will focus on LGBTQ people living in the heartland and their needs,” One Iowa Interim Executive Director Courtney Reyes said in a press release. “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.”

“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,” stated Zach Stafford, The Advocate editor-in-chief. “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. ”

The forum will be at the Sinclair Auditorium at Coe College. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., and the program will run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Each candidate will have individual stage time to address the audience, followed by a one-on-one moderated Q&A session.

The moderators are:

  • James Q.Lynch, The Gazette political reporter
  • Zach Stafford, Advocate editor-in-chief
  • Keenan Crow, One Iowa director of policy and advocacy

This event is free with required pre-registration now available at