Senator Elizabeth Warren, left, and Pose actress Angelica Ross pose for photos backstage at The Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues. (Steve Pope/Getty Images for GLAAD)
Angelica Ross has said that Bernie Sanders made a “huge misstep” by not attending Friday’s Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues (September 20).
The forum was hosted by Ross, and saw ten Democratic presidential hopefuls talk about their plans for improving LGBT+ rights in the US, but Sanders was not in attendance.
There will be another LGBT+ forum in October, and Sanders has confirmed that he will not be able to attend then either.
The Pose actress told The Guardian: “I was disappointed to not see all of the candidates here. I was further disappointed to hear this was not the only LGBTQ event Bernie was making other commitments for.
“You don’t show up for both of our LGBTQ events? That’s obviously telling us all we need to know.”
Ross then said that she had “inside information” on why Sanders had missed Friday’s forum.
She continued: “I’m going to risk being super real here for a second.
“What’s happening a lot – and what a lot of these candidates have to avoid – is being seen as looking for a photo op.
“To be seen in certain communities and spaces. I heard that he was not only visiting the [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] but also visiting an old black barbershop.”
Angelica Ross wants to tell Bernie Sanders: “Make it up to me. Make it up to us.”
Ross said that she wanted candidates like Sanders to learn about the crossover between minorities.
“I’m already struggling as a black trans advocate to get folks in my own black community to understand that being black and being LGBTQ are not mutually exclusive.
“What I hope Bernie would learn is you don’t have to pander to just one aspect of the black community.
“If he would have been at the LGBTQ forum tonight, he would have seen we were talking about issues affecting people of color.
“I think it was a huge misstep on his part. And I’m not here for any of the excuses. I say: ‘Make it up to me. Make it up to us.’”
Ross praised one of the most powerful moments of the evening, when Elizabeth Warren read out the names of the 18 black trans women who have been murdered so far this year in the US.
Ross said: “For me, it felt like more than an opportunistic moment. She is someone who is invested [in the LGBTQ community].”