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WASHINGTON—The MSNBC presidential primary debate last night was chocked full of questions to all candidates. The debate took place on the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), and according to news reports and transcripts from this 5th presidential debate, there were no transgender questions asked from the media, which many consider to be a dismissal after the direct attack on the approximate 15,500 trans military servicemembers who, due to the trans military ban, have been under consistent fire from the Administration. More importantly, questions pertaining to the LGBTQ community in its entirety have mostly been missing from not just this, but all the debates.

“During five general-issue Democratic primary debates, moderators have asked over 600 questions of the candidates. Only one of those questions addressed LGBTQ equality,” said Freedom For All Americans CEO and National Campaigns Director Kasey Suffredini.

“At a time when our LGBTQ friends, family members, and neighbors are under attack across the country, with three cases pending at the Supreme Court that could make it lawful to fire people simply for being LGBTQ, this is unacceptable. Voters deserve to know where candidates running for president of this country—regardless of party—stand on the urgent need to pass comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that will ensure every LGBTQ American is protected in all areas of life.”

The media’s failure to ask questions about the most marginalized within the LGBTQ community—a form of erasure—was also something that Suffredini noted via his statement.

“For debate moderators to continuously fail to ask candidates about LGBTQ equality—particularly on Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when we commemorate transgender Americans who’ve died because of extreme anti-trans violence—is particularly regrettable,” he said. “Future moderators must stop erasing the experiences of millions of our fellow LGBTQ Americans and commit to asking candidates to state a stance on nondiscrimination protections in every remaining debate this campaign cycle.”


Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

[From a News Release and TH Reporters’ additions]