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Out Of The Closet And Inside The Office, A Conversation With NC's LGBTQ Elected Officials

Thirty years ago Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Herzenberg made history when he became the first openly gay elected official in the South. Today there are 13 openly-LGBTQ individuals serving in elected office in North Carolina. The social and political climate in the state has evolved dramatically in three decades, but many argue that the heated debate around House Bill 2 shows that LGBTQ issues are still politically divisive.

Current and former out LGBTQ elected officials will gather at UNC-Chapel Hill today as part of an academic initiative looking at the link between the representation of LGBT people and the legal and political rights afforded to those groups. Host Frank Stasio is joined by three participants to discuss their personal stories and experiences serving in state office. He talks with Mark Kleinschmidt, former mayor of Chapel Hill, Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, commissioner in Buncombe County, and Deb Butler, member of the North Carolina House of Representatives serving the state's 18th District

“Being LGBTQ in North Carolina: A Conversation with Out NC LGBTQ Elected Officials” takes place in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium of the FedEx Global Education Center at UNC-Chapel Hill today from 4-5:30 p.m.

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.