Fourteen elected officials who identify as LGBTQ will hold a forum Friday called “Being LGTBQ in North Carolina.”

The guest list includes former Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Carrboro Alderperson Damon Seils, NC Representative Cecil Brockman and Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle.

Lavelle said it’s a crucial time to create dialogue about LGBTQ representation.

“This will be a great gathering, especially in the current climate,” she said. “And especially hearing from folks who were in office not now, but several years ago to hear how things have progressed and also hear from new folks across the state who have been elected. I’m looking forward to it.”

The forum will be moderated by Washington Post and USA Today columnist Steven Petrow.

The LGBTQ Representation and Rights Initiative at UNC organized the event. The initiative focuses on the link between the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and the legal and political rights afforded to those groups.

Lavelle said anyone is invited to attend.

“We’re a good, hearty group and the important thing is that we’re the ones who identify as LGBT,” she said. “But we have many, many, many straight allies across the state and that’s great, too.”

The forum will take place April 7 at the FedEx Global Education Center on campus from 4:00 P.M. to 5:30 P.M.

To view the full list of panelists click here.