Pose and American Horror Story star Angelica Ross has taken a break from Twitter due to harassment from both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump supporters after hosting a recent LGBTQ forum.
At the forum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 20, Ross became the first trans person to host a presidential forum. The forum featured 10 Democratic presidential candidates, including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris. Not in attendance were candidates Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders.
In a September 21 interview with The Guardian, Ross called Sanders’s decision “a huge misstep,” and suggested that his prior commitments included being photographed at a black barbershop:
“I’m going to risk being super real here for a second,” Ross told The Guardian. “When you’re on the campaign trail, what’s happening a lot – and what a lot of these candidates have to avoid – is being seen as looking for a photo op. To be seen in certain communities and spaces. I heard that he was not only visiting the [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] but also visiting an old black barbershop.
I’m already struggling as a black trans advocate to get folks in my own black community to understand that being black and being LGBTQ are not mutally exclusive. What I hope Bernie would learn is you don’t have to pander to just one aspect of the black community. If he would have been at the LGBTQ forum tonight, he would have seen we were talking about issues affecting people of color. I think it was a huge misstep on his part. And I’m not here for any of the excuses. I say: ‘Make it up to me. Make it up to us.’”
On Twitter, Sanders supporters quickly flooded Ross’s mentions, angry that she would criticize his decision to skip the landmark forum in light of his previous record of support for LGBTQ rights, according to Out.
But the worst of the harassment came from Trump supporters, who were angry that Ross used the forum to point out the administration’s abuses of the trans community:
“One of the reasons I’m here tonight, is because the Trump administration is harming transgender Americans,” she said at the forum. “So let’s just review, why don’t we, just a handful of those moves. The administration moved to revoke trans healthcare and descrimination protections. They made it more difficult for homeless trans people to access shelters, and every Education Secretary Betsy Devos, however you say her name, her decision to stop investigating the complaints of trans students, hurts trans students across the country, when Secretary Devos should be helping to make sure every student can learn.”
Following the Advocate’s tweet featuring her remarks, commenters used the video as an opportunity to misgender Ross and label her mentally ill.
After a weekend of harassment, Ross tweeted “Going to take a break from social media for a while and let me [sic] team run my accounts.” That sounds like an excellent move as Twitter remains some of the best evidence we have that the internet was a terrible idea.