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Trump and Biden fail to address LGBTQ issues during presidential debate in ‘enormous slight’

Biden, 81, and Trump, 79, will face off in the polls on Tuesday 5 November 2024

By Jamie Tabberer

Donald Trump and Joe Biden
Donald Trump and Joe Biden (Images: Wikimedia Commons)

Joe Biden and Donald Trump failed to even reference LGBTQ issues during last night’s Presidential debate in Atlanta.

In scenes reminiscent of TV debates in the UK ahead of our 4 July election, immigration and military instead took centre stage at the CNN-hosted event, moderated by Dana Bash and Jake Tapper.

Biden, 81, and Trump, 79, will face off in the polls on Tuesday 5 November 2024.

“Our community is deeply affected by where these candidates stand”

GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis anticipated the snub, predicting “an enormous slight to our community, if LGBTQ questions are not asked during this debate. Our community is deeply affected by where these candidates stand.” 

Ellis furthermore told party leaders (as per the Washington Blade): “The safety and freedom of LGBTQ people depends on your engagement with the candidates and ability to inform voters about their records and proposals.”

In a statement issued to coincide with the debate, a Human Rights Campaign rep said yesterday: “Trump’s intentions are loud and clear. He wants to be a dictator and dismantle LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive freedom, and our democracy.

“A second Trump administration would be detrimental for our progress. With so much at stake, we can’t afford another Trump presidency. That’s why we’re mobilising 75 million Equality Voters to elect pro-equality champions up and down the ballot this November.”

“This election is not simply about two candidates. It is about two different visions for our country,” added HRC President Kelley Robinson in a statement. “And those visions will be on display tonight. On the one hand, you have twice-impeached, forever disgraced, convicted felon Donald Trump, who is hellbent on burning democracy to the ground and installing a Christian Nationalist regime that would terrorise our families and trample our freedoms. And on the other, you have President Biden, the most pro-equality President in American history, who is dedicated to building an Administration that looks like America and serves the people everyday.

“Over and over again, the American people have made clear that they value equality, dignity, and freedom. They will hear a commitment to those values from one man onstage tonight: President Joe Biden.”

“Righting a historic wrong”

Yesterday’s debate follows Wednesday’s news that Biden is to issue a pardon proclamation for US veterans convicted under a historic military law banning gay sex.

It is expected to affect around 2,000 people convicted over a 60-year period.

In a statement, Biden said: “Today, I am righting an historic wrong by using my clemency authority to pardon many former service members who were convicted simply for being themselves.”

“Despite their courage and great sacrifice, thousands of LGBTQ+ service members were forced out of the military because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Some of these patriotic Americans were subject to court-martial, and have carried the burden of this great injustice for decades.”

Trump, meanwhile, was notorious for rolling back the rights of LGBTQ people during his presidency. For a full list of his attacks on the community – from banning trans people from the military to removing information on LGBTQ rights on government websites – visit