On Thursday (October 10), CNN held a town hall to discuss issues facing the LGBTQ community. A powerful came when protests erupted numerous times to shed light on the plight of Black transgender women and how there wasn’t one Black transgender person asking questions to the canidiates.
The first demonstration occurred during Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s time on the stage. Protesters shouted, "People are dying, do something!" and "Trans lives matter!" The South Bend, Indiana mayor subsequently said he shares the concerns of the demonstrators.
"I do want to acknowledge what these demonstrators are speaking about, which is the epidemic of violence against Black trans women," Buttigieg said, causing applause from the crowd. "And I believe or would like to believe that everybody here is committed to ending that epidemic, and that does include lifting up... visibility and speaking to it.”
After more chants of “Trans lives matter!” erupted, Anderson Cooper, who was moderating the event, thanked the demonstrators and spoke his peace.
"Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest," said Cooper, who was met by applause. "And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender people.”
Buttigieg then acknowledged that even though as a member of the LGBTQ community, his personal experiences vary from those of trans people of color.
"[I’m] very mindful of the fact that my experience as a gay man, but as a white cis-gendered gay man, means that there are dimensions, for examplem of what it's like to be a Black trans woman that I do not personally understand,” he said. “But I also think the diversity within the LGBTQ-plus community is part of what we have to offer right now."
Later during the town hall, while Congressman Beto O’Rourke was on-stage, trans activist Blossom C. Brown emerged from the audience and took the mic from a person asking a question.
"Black trans women are dying, our lives matter!" Brown said. "I am an extraordinary Black trans woman, and I deserve to be here. I am tired. I am so tired ... It's not just my Black trans women, it's my Black trans brothers, too.”
Black transgender folks eventually did participate in the town hall, which was hosted in Los Angeles, a day before National Coming Out Day (Oct. 10).
At least 19 trans people have been murdered so far in 2019. At least 26 transgender people were killed in the U.S. in 2018, according to the Human Rights Campaign.