Billy Gilman to Perform National Anthem at Angelica Ross-Hosted LGBTQ Presidential Forum


On Thursday (Sept. 16), GLAAD announced that out country music star Billy Gilman will perform the National Anthem at the organization's 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues taking place on Friday, Sept. 20 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

Gilman, who is best known for taking second place on season 11 of NBC's The Voice, has long been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community in the country music scene, aiming to help more queer artists find success in the industry. "Billy Gilman is a groundbreaking artist whose voice is unparalleled," GLAAD's chief programs officer Zeke Stokes says in a statement. "We are proud to showcase his immense talent as we pay tribute to our nation on this historic night in Iowa."

Along with Gilman, the organization also announced that Pose and American Horror Story: 1984 star Angelica Ross would be hosting the upcoming forum. Ross, along with making a successful acting career, has long been an activist for transgender rights.

“This LGBTQ Presidential Forum is a pivotal moment in the 2020 election cycle. It’s the first time that LGBTQ issues will be exclusively discussed by 2020 presidential candidates on a national stage,” GLAAD ceo and president Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “We look forward to hearing how the 2020 candidates plan to reverse the attacks and rollbacks of the Trump Administration and put LGBTQ Americans on a course to 100 percent acceptance.”

Ten of the Democratic candidates for President are confirmed to attend the forum, including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Sestak and Marianne Williamson. According to a release, the candidates will be expected to "lay out their vision for improving LGBTQ acceptance across the nation at a time when LGBTQ issues have largely been absent from the national debate stage."

The 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues will take place on Friday, Sept. 20 at 7:00 p.m. CT at Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. You can livestream the forum on the day-of here.