The Democratic presidential hopeful didn’t appear in person at the annual event, billed as the “world’s largest” drag convention and held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. She did, however, record a video message in which she pledged her commitment to LGBTQ equality if elected to the White House in 2020.
“I’m in this fight for an America that works for everyone, not just for a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” the Massachusetts senator said in the video, which can be viewed above. “I’m in this fight for full LGBTQ+ equality. We’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure that everyone is free to be who they are and to love who they love.”
Warren also pointed to the ongoing epidemic of violence against transgender people, particularly women of color, across the U.S.
More than two dozen transgender people were killed last year, according to data gathered by CNN, the New York City Anti-Violence Project and the Human Rights Campaign. Last week, Bee Love Slater of Florida became the 18th known transgender person murdered in 2019 thus far.
“We need to call it out, and we need to fight back,” Warren said. “Everyone should be able to go to school, to work, to get health care or just walk down the street without fear of discrimination or violence.”
“Equal means equal, period. That’s what I’m fighting for,” she added.
DragCon attendees could also pick up Warren placards, stickers and other campaign memorabilia at a small booth set up at the convention center. Not surprisingly, a life-size cutout of the candidate ― appropriately draped with a rainbow boa ― was a big hit among many of the more than 40,000 visitors in attendance.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” veteran Shea Couleé said all of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates ― including Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who is gay ― had been invited to the three-day event.
“[Warren] is the only one that accepted the invitation,” Couleé told NBC News. “For me, that speaks volumes. She’s shown herself to be a great ally.”
“We had so many conversations with so many young people and voters,” Couleé added. “I think it’s important that we get these young voters fired up and excited about the next presidential election.”
As a senator, Warren has been described as “a persistent champion” for the LGBTQ community. In June, she sponsored a bill to effectively unlock tax refunds previously denied to same-sex couples legally married in some states before a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional in 2013.
In July, Warren updated her Twitter bio to note her own preferred pronouns, “she/hers” ― a gesture that shows solidarity with transgender and nonbinary voters whose pronoun preferences are too often ignored by others.