CNN’s LGBTQ Town Hall Interrupted By “Trans People Are Dying” Protesters

Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Shutterstock (10441135ab) Pete Buttigieg, Anderson Cooper. Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, left, speaks as CNN moderator Anderson Cooper listens during the Power of our Pride Town Hall, in Los Angeles.

UPDATE, 7:48 p.m. PT: CNN’s LGBTQ town hall in Los Angeles was interrupted again by a trans protester, one of several disruptions at the event featuring 2020 presidential candidates.

As CNN’s Don Lemon was on the stage with Beto O’Rourke, a woman who identified herself as Blossom Brown grabbed the microphone and shouted, “Black trans woman are being killed in this country, and you have erased trans women for the last time.”

“Our lives matter. I am an extraordinary black trans woman, and I deserve to be here,” she said.

Lemon took the microphone and responded, “Let me tell you something. The reason that we are here is to validate people like you. That is why we are here.”

She complained that not one black trans woman or man had been given a chance to ask a question during the evening.

O’Rourke later tweeted, “We will hold a town hall focused on trans women

PREVIOUSLY, 6:04 p.m. PT: CNN’s LGBTQ town hall on Thursday was interrupted briefly by a group of trans activists who chanted, “Trans people are dying,” and their protest quickly was addressed by moderator Anderson Cooper and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

There was a bit of a scuffle as the activists attempted to unfurl a trans flag and security tried to drag get them out of the venue. Some members of the audience began chanting, “Trans lives matter.”

Cooper tried to cool things down. “It’s all right, it’s all right,” he said. “There’s a long history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest, and we applaud their protest.”

Buttigieg had just taken the stage to roaring applause and a standing ovation. The is the first openly gay candidate to run for the Democratic nomination referred to the protesters when he talked about violence against black trans women and the need to do something about it.

“I would like to believe everyone here is committed to ending that epidemic,” he said.

Cooper, who also is openly gay, asked Buttigieg about when he knew what his sexual orientation was. Cooper said that he was four or five years old when he knew something was different, but Buttigieg described going through a “civil war” in his mind before he accepted that he was gay when he was in his 20s. Still, he was not ready to come out publicly until after he came back from his tour of duty in Afghanistan and was mayor of South Bend. He came out in 2015 and was re-elected overwhelmingly later that year.

Buttigieg is among nine presidential candidates participating in the town hall in Los Angeles, with Sen. Cory Booker kicking off the night, followed by Joe Biden. The event is being held at the Novo, an event space in downtown Los Angeles.

Buttigieg also said that “there is no right or wrong way to be gay, to be queer, to be trans, and I hope that our community, even as we struggle to define what our identity means, defines it in a way that lets everybody know that they below among us.”

When Kamala Harris took the stage, she made a reference to trans inclusion when she told moderator Chris Cuomo, “My pronouns are she, her and hers.”

“Mine too,” Cuomo responded, in an attempt at humor.

He later apologized on Twitter, writing that I am ally of the LGBTQ community, and I apologize because I am committed to helping us achieve equality.”

Elizabeth Warren drew roars of laughter when she was asked how she would respond to a support who says, “I’m old fashioned, and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

“Well, I am going to assume it is a guy who said that, and I am going to say, ‘Just marry one woman.’ I’m cool with that.”  She waited a few seconds before adding, “Assuming you can find one.”

Warren later began singing what she said was the first song she learned as a child growing up in Oklahoma. “Jesus loves all the children of the world,” she said.

“I saw this as a matter of faith and saw that there were a lot of different people who do a lot of different things, who look different from each other, who sound different from each other, who form different kind of families.” She said that although there weren’t many people who were out where she grew up, but “it was just gradual, it was the two ladies who lived together, and it was just a part of what we understood.”

She said that “the hatefulness, frankly, always really shocked me, especially for people of faith, because I think the whole foundation is the worth of every single human being.”

In his appearance, Biden talked about one time in the early 1960s when his dad was dropping him off in Rodney Square in Wilmington, Delaware, where he was going to apply for a job.

“Two well dressed men kissed one another as I was opening the door,” Biden said. “…And I looked at my dad and he looked at me and said, ‘It’s simple honey. They love each other. It’s just basic. It’s not complicated about it.”d

He recalled that in 2012, he was meeting with LGBTQ activists in Los Angeles at the home of Michael Lombardo, then a top executive at HBO, and his husband Michael Lombardo. At the event, Chad Griffin, about to become the new president of the Human Rights Campaign, asked Biden, “What do you think of us?”

“And I went on to say that I did not have any problem whatsoever with same-sex marriage,” Biden recalled. “It never even crossed my mind.”

Soon after Biden went on Meet the Press and, asked about same-sex marriage, gave the same answer. It created a stir because President Barack Obama had yet to announce his support. But Biden said that when he went in to see the president the next morning, “He got up, and he walked over to me and he said, ‘Well, you told me.’ He gave me a kiss. I swear to God.”

Biden returned to the Lombardo-Ward home in Hancock Park earlier on Thursday afternoon for a fundraising event, where their daughter, Josie, introduced him to the crowd of about 60 people.

According to a pool report, he talked a bit about next week’s presidential debate, in which 12 candidates will be on stage together — more than any other time this cycle.

Biden said that he would be “more declarative, not argumentative,” and acknowledged some of the pitfalls of entering the presidential race as a front runner. Some donors have wanted him to be more aggressive in going on offense against President Donald Trump.

“One of the problems I’m finding, I’ve got to be more aggressive,” Biden said to applause. “Which is good. I’m not complaining. I’m a big boy.”

But he said that the time constraints make it difficult.

“So when someone says, ‘You know, are you still beating your wife?’ And I go, ‘I have a long explanation,’ and they say, ‘You got 30 seconds to answer.’ And you say, ‘No.’ And then, ‘Wait a minute, what did I just say? No, I’m not still beating my wife.’ But so, I’ve had some difficulties in knowing to counterattack.”

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