'Give me a hug': Elizabeth Warren shares emotional exchange with LGBTQ teen

When the Iowa student asked Warren a tearful question about family rejection, the Democratic presidential hopeful responded with a story of her own.
By Tim Fitzsimons

At a town hall in Marion, Iowa, on Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren fielded a tearful question from an LGBTQ student.

“I was wondering if there was ever a time in your life where somebody you really looked up to maybe didn't accept you as much, and how you dealt with that,” Raelyn Stecker, 17, an Iowa high school student, asked the Massachusetts senator.

When Warren responded by sharing a personal story about her mother, she, too, teared up.

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“My mother and I had very different views of how to build a future,” Warren said. “She wanted me to marry well. And I really tried. And it just didn’t work out — and there came a day when I had to call her and say, ‘This is over, I can’t make it work.’”

“I heard the disappointment in her voice; I knew how she felt about it,” Warren, who divorced her first husband at 22, continued. “But I also knew it was the right thing to do. And sometimes you just gotta do what’s right inside and hope that maybe the rest of the world will come around to it. And maybe they will, maybe they won't. The truth is you gotta take care of yourself first and do this.”

“Give me a hug,” Warren said to applause, as she embraced the teen.

Later, on Twitter, Stecker shared a photo of her asking the question.

Stecker later tweeted: "Thank you @ewarren for having the courage to share your story with me. You give me hope every day and I am so grateful i got to have this moment with you. Thank you so much"

Warren later tweeted: "Thank you so much for your question, Raelyn! We’ve got this. Stay strong out there."

According to a recent poll by YouGov and Out Magazine, Warren is by far the most popular candidate among likely LGBTQ voters in the Democratic presidential primary, earning 31 percent of their support. She’s followed by Bernie Sanders with 18 percent, Joe Biden with 16 percent and Pete Buttigieg with 14 percent.

Warren’s LGBTQ platform is also one of the most comprehensive of the 2020 presidential candidates. She vows to pass the Equality Act, fight legal efforts to use religion as a shield against anti-discrimination laws and undo the Trump administration's numerous changes to rules and regulations that have opened up new avenues to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

She’s also made other moves to appeal to LGBTQ voters: She set up a booth at RuPaul’s DragCon in New York City, added she/her pronouns to her Twitter bio and introduced a Senate bill to unlock tax refunds for same-sex couples who were denied them before gay marriage was legalized nationally in 2015.

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