How Did This Bishop Come Out Of The Closet?

An unfortunate but painfully common occurrence in the LGBTQ+ community is being outed of the closet against your best wishes. 

It happens to celebrities all the time, (like Kit Connor, from Heartstopper) and it happens to less famous LGBTQ+ youth and adults as well.

Well, instead of being outed, Rev. Gene Robinson was called out of the closet. 

By God.

This was 20 years ago, when the Kentucky native became a global figure both in the Church and in the LGBTQ+ community, for different reasons.


One of them wanted him dead, and the other celebrated his courage. In 2003, Gene Robinson was consecrated as the 9th bishop to serve the Episcopal Church’s New Hampshire Diocese. 

He had to wear a bullet-proof vest under his bishop attire, and the death threats made their way as early as his first evening serving as pastor. The Anglican Church labeled him as its most dangerous man at the time. Hundreds of parishes left the church when he was consecrated.

If more conservative families are vehemently opposed to having openly gay teachers be near their children, you can imagine what a hard pill to swallow it was to learn their local Bishop was also part of the dreaded community.

But Bishop Robinson quickly laid the facts to the Church and all of its adjuncts: he’s not the first nor the last gay bishop within its perfumed walls. 

In his own words: “There have been a lot of us, let’s just be clear. I’m just the first openly-gay one.”

Source: @bishopGRobinson

He’d also be the first Episcopal Bishop with purple nail polish, although only as a special occasion to celebrate his consecration as bishop 20 years ago.

Bishops wear a lot of purple, a fancy color usually associated with royalty.

And as the Bishop said: “You know what? I’m 76 years old. I can get my nails painted.”

Oh, indeed he can.

Before his consecration, Robinson was married to his ex-wife Isabella Martin for 14 years, siring two daughters and granddaughters. They divorced when he came out as gay. While Isabella said this was traumatic for her, she says there’s not bitterness now. Robinson then married Mark Andrew, but they also split in 2014.

The LGBTQ+ community and organized religion don’t always go hand in hand, but that doesn’t mean they’re mutually exclusive. There are many proud gay Christians today, just like Bishop Robinson, who manage to balance out their beliefs with their sexuality harmoniously.

By: Sebastian Calderon

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