Watch CNN’s LGBTQ town hall with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates airing on Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET.
How to explain Elizabeth Warren’s wide and diverse LGBTQ fan base, which includes the transgender rights activist Raquel Willis, drag queens, college students, the writer Roxane Gay, the “Queer Eye” grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness and, most recently, the rock legend Melissa Etheridge? And, in a field of rivals that includes an actual gay man, a former state attorney general who presided over some of the first same-sex marriages after a landmark Supreme Court case in 2015, and a former vice president who was ahead of his president in supporting these marriages?
There are the obvious answers. But there are the oblique ones, too.
More self-evidently, the Massachusetts senator’s popularity makes policy sense. Save for a 2012 comment on transgender prisoners that she’s since walked back, Warren has an unalloyed track record on LGBTQ rights: From marriage equality to employment non-discrimination to lifting the federal blood ban, she’s been comprehensive in supporting the community. (Van Ness, who recently revealed that he’s HIV positive and relies on treatment that can be prohibitively expensive, attributed his endorsement to Warren’s positions on health care.)
Warren also had a booth at RuPaul’s DragCon NYC in September — the only Democratic presidential candidate to have one. “We had so many conversations with so many young people and voters, and I think it’s important that we get these young voters fired up and excited about the next presidential election,” Shea Couleé, best known as a contestant on Season 9 of the cultural institution “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” said of her decision to speak at Warren’s booth.