October 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm PDT | by Chris Johnson
Sen. Kamala Harris to headline Human Rights Campaign’s national dinner

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is set to speak at the Human Rights Campaign national dinner. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is set to headline the upcoming Human Rights Campaign dinner in D.C. amid speculation she may pursue a presidential bid to unseat President Trump in 2020.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, announced in a statement Harris would speak at the 21st annual HRC National Dinner, which will take place Oct. 28 at the Washington Convention Center.

“Sen. Kamala Harris is a champion of equality who is committed to helping us fight back against the Trump-Pence administration’s all-out war against the LGBTQ community,” Griffin said. “Throughout her career in public life, Sen. Harris has fought for the equal dignity of the LGBTQ community, and she is a national leader in the resistance against the politics of hate and fear.”

Harris, considered a potential 2020 presidential candidate, is already a favorite of many in the LGBT community who are looking to defeat President Trump and reverse his anti-LGBT policy when he seeks re-election at the end of his first term.

A co-sponsor of the Equality Act in the U.S. Senate, Harris as California attorney general gained a reputation as an LGBT advocate for refusing to defend Proposition 8 in court and declining to certify a state ballot initiative aimed instituting the death penalty for homosexual acts.

But Harris also faced criticism in the transgender community for challenging on behalf of the state a court order granting gender reassignment surgery for transgender inmate, Michelle-Lael Norsworthy. The inmate ultimately obtained the surgery under Medi-Cal after she was granted parole.

Also set for recognition at the Human Rights Campaign dinner is two-time Emmy Award-winning actress Uzo Aduba, who’ll be given the HRC Ally for Equality Award. Aduba plays the role of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix show “Orange is the New Black,” which she said has educated her on LGBT issues.

“Using her incredible talent to help change countless hearts and minds, Uzo Aduba is a powerful and compelling voice for justice, fairness, and equality,” Griffin said. “Aduba is unwavering in her commitment to helping advance equality for LGBTQ people around the globe. We are proud to honor her with the HRC Ally for Equality Award.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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