Trans Lives Matter protests erupt during Dem Equality Town Hall

The CNN Equality Town Hall, in which nine Democratic presidential candidates participated, was repeatedly interrupted Thursday night by protestors trying to draw attention to violence against trans women of color. So far this year, 20 trans people have been murdered in the U.S., the majority of those being black trans women. During Beto O’Rourke’s time, one protestor took the mic from an audience member about to ask a question.

“Black trans women are being killed in this country,” she said as she approached the stage, “and CNN, you have erased black trans women for the last time. Let me tell you something. Black trans women are dying! Our lives matter!”

Rather than shutting her down, Don Lemon, who had originally asked her to give him the mic, gave it back and let her say her piece.

In a much more subdued moment, Kamala Harris was interrupted mid-answer when an audience member yelled, “How do we get those men to stop killing us? How do we get those men to stop killing trans women of color? We are hunted. Systematically hunted.” “I know,” Harris replied. “I know. You’re right.”

But the protests began even earlier just moments after Pete Buttigeig took the stage. While an audience member was asking the first question, protestors began yelling and approached the stage holding a transgender pride flag with the words “WE ARE DYING” written on it. Then came the chants of “Trans Lives Matter.” Once everything calmed down, Buttigeig took the original question, but before answering, took the time to acknowledge the plight of the protestors.

For more on the Equality Town Hall go to cnn.com.

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