Gene Robinson is known as the first bishop in the Christian Church to ever come out as gay, which he decided to do back in 1986.
At the time, the Kentucky native had been an ordained priest for 13 years, and he noted that God was the one who “called him out of the closet.” In 2003, he was then elected as a bishop to serve for the Episcopal Church’s New Hampshire Diocese.
Robinson has since made it his life goal to open the Church to the LGBTQ+ community and vice versa. In fact, he jokingly refers to the five out gay bishops in the Church as his “legacy.” In a recent interview with CBS News, the 76-year-old retired bishop clarified that he is not the only gay priest or bishop in the history of the Christian Church.
“There have been a lot of us, let’s just be clear. I’m just the first openly gay one,” he pointed out.
Robinson further opened up about coming out, expressing:
“It’s an awful thing to stand in a pulpit and encourage people to live authentic lives when you know you’re not being authentic. It’s why I felt God called me out of the closet.”
Moreover, he has been honored for his work dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and the Church by having a small chapel at St. Thomas Episcopal Church established under his name.