By Brooke Sopelsa

Democratic presidential hopefuls will have the chance to speak about their views and policy platforms regarding LGBTQ rights at a town hall on Oct. 10, the eve of National Coming Out Day.

The event is being co-hosted by UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the national LGBTQ advocacy group. It will take place at UCLA.

In order to participate, a candidate must receive 1 percent or more of the vote in three separate national polls or receive donations from 65,000 people in 20 states, according to a joint statement by the foundation and UCLA. The event will be held in addition to 12 scheduled debates sanctioned by Democratic National Committee throughout the 2020 Democratic primary season, with the first being held in June and hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, underscored the importance of such a forum by pointing to the patchwork of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights across the U.S., where in 30 states LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“If any LGBTQ person were to take a cross-country drive from HRC headquarters in Washington, D.C., to UCLA’s campus, their rights and protections under the law would change dozens of times at every city line and state border,” Griffin said in a statement. “Millions of LGBTQ people will have their rights on the ballot in 2020 — but today we are also a powerful voting bloc that will help determine the outcome.”

Traditionally, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. According to an NBC News exit poll last November, 82 percent of LGBTQ voters cast a ballot for their district’s Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives. And in 2016, 78 percent of LGBTQ voters cast a ballot for the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the UCLA-Human Rights Campaign Foundation forum was among the 12 DNC-sanctioned presidential debates. It is not.

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