by: Kelsey Harkness /

PHILADELPHIA—Despite being proud of advances they’ve made during eight years under President Barack Obama, leaders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement say they still have work to do.

“The future of the LGBT movement hinges largely on the outcome of this election,” Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Arcus Foundation, said at a global LGBT summit held in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention.

Jennings, issuing a warning to a mostly friendly audience, said there are “two very different visions for LGBT equality in the Republican and Democratic platforms.”

More than 25 prominent leaders of the national LGBT movement, including elected officials and other influential voices, gathered for the four-day event called the Equality Forum.

The Daily Signal attended several panel discussions featuring speakers such as Janson Wu, executive director of the advocacy group GLAD; James Esseks, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and AIDS project at the American Civil Liberties Union; and Evan Wolfson, former president of Freedom to Marry, a campaign largely credited with winning the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Looking forward, speakers said, priorities include defeating “anti-LGBT” bills, supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth through new school policies and curriculum and partnering with outside organizations on minority-driven issues such as gun control and criminal justice reform. They called for Congress to amend the Civil Rights Act to add protections in places of public accommodation, among other changes.

LGBT advocacy groups also are involved in an array of lawsuits they believe could have a major impact, including a Pennsylvania case where a transgender women alleges discrimination by her former employer.

The Equality Forum didn’t conclude without controversy.  As panelists talked about outreach to millennials, blacks, and other minorities, one reporter stood up and asked why, if they care so much about diversity, was their panel comprised of four middle-aged white men?

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