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August 14, 2019 Comments Off on Biden, Castro, Williamson and a Sleestak Set For Iowa LGBTQ Presidential Forum On Sept 20 Views: 3380 *Pete Buttigieg, *Resist. Protest. Obstruct. Inform., 2020 Elections, Fan Boy/Girl Land, Geek, National News, News, Queer News

Biden, Castro, Williamson and a Sleestak Set For Iowa LGBTQ Presidential Forum On Sept 20

Uncle Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Guru Williamson and a Sleestak.

Uncle Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Guru Williamson and a Sleestak.

Apparently all the Democratic presidential candidates were invited but so far only former VP Joe Biden is the only frontrunner to confirm participation in an LGBTQ forum scheduled for September 20th in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It’s an event put together by One Iowa, a local LGBTQ advocacy group and The Gazette, eastern Iowa’s daily media outlet, along with the nationally known The Advocate, the dominant LGBTQ media outlet in the country. 

Also confirmed to attend…three candidates a lot further down the ladder: former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, former Pennsylvania representative Joe Sestak (who we’ve never heard of and always think of a Sleestak every time we hear his name…) and New Age spiritual guru/author Marianne Williamson. Both Castro and Biden have enough supporters to be included in the next national Democratic presidential candidate debate in September. Both Williamson and Sestak are scrambling to qualify.

Not confirmed to attend: actual out gay candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg who has polled surprisingly well in Iowa. 

More info from the press release:


Biden, Castro, Sestak, Williamson Confirmed to Speak at LGBTQ Presidential Forum Hosted by One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate 

[Cedar Rapids]— Former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, former Pennsylvania representative Joe Sestak and author Marianne Williamson will speak at a September 20 forum on the lives of LGBTQ people and other civil rights issues impacting them in the heartland and rural America. All Democratic presidential candidates have been invited to participate. 

One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, The Gazette, Eastern Iowa’s daily paper and online news source and The Advocate, the world’s leading source for LGBTQ news, will host this event in Sinclair Auditorium at Coe College, a small private institution located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This event is free with required pre-registration now available at Coe College does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office. Political opinions expressed at this event should not be taken to represent the views of Coe College. 

Several leading elected officials from Eastern Iowa are serving as honorary co-chairs for the LGBTQ Presidential Forum: 

  • Congressman Dave Loebsack 
  • Iowa Senator Zach Wahls 
  • Iowa Senator Rob Hogg 
  • Iowa Representative Liz Bennett 
  • Linn County Democratic Party Chair Bret Niles 
  • Hiawatha City Councilwoman Aime Wichtendahl 

“This event will focus on LGBTQ people living in the heartland and their needs,” One Iowa Interim Executive Director Courtney Reyes said. “The overarching narrative that LGBTQ people in the U.S live in urban coastal areas ignores the millions of LGBTQ individuals living and working in the middle of the country. We look forward to hearing what the presidential candidates have to say to this often overlooked, but politically powerful community.” 

“At The Advocate, we are committed to serving LGBTQ populations living in big cities and small towns with vital news and information to educate, inform and inspire,” stated Zach Stafford, The Advocate editor-in-chief. “Creating a forum where our issues are front and center will allow the LGBTQ community to make clear and informed decisions about the candidates seeking our valuable votes.” 

Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., and the program will run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Each candidate will have individual stage time to address the audience, followed by a one-on-one moderated Q&A session. Moderators are: 

  • James Q. Lynch, The Gazette political reporter 
  • Zach Stafford, The Advocate editor-in-chief 
  • Keenan Crow, One Iowa director of policy and advocacy 

Candidates and campaign staff interested in participating are encouraged to contact Quinn Pettifer, The Gazette community outreach manager, at or 319- 981-0307. 


One Iowa advances, empowers, and improves the lives of LGBTQ Iowans statewide. Find out more at The Gazette is Eastern Iowa’s independent, employee-owned daily newspaper and media company. Founded in 1883, the company continues to be innovative in program, product and service while maintaining its commitment to provide the latest in local, state and national news. Find out more at

The Advocate continues to be the world’s leading source of LGBTQ+ news, culture and entertainment, since it was first published over half a century ago in 1967. Through its award-winning journalism, compelling photography, and impactful video, The Advocate continues to capture the most important political and culturally relevant news and conversations taking place today, that affect the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. Find out more at

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