Equality Forum: Eugene Robinson Tells His Story

The gay bishop tells a Philly crowd about his journey.

By Catherine Caperello
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 29, 2009

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But Robinson was also critical of the LGBT movement: “We want our full and equal rights and acceptance in society without having to pay a price for it.”

He drew a comparison to the civil rights movement of the 1960s when demonstrators took to the streets knowing they would face snarling dogs, water hoses and beatings: “I think sometimes that we don’t want to give up the convenience and the joy of our Sunday brunches to get into a little trouble, that is to say justice trouble and I don’t think we’re ever going to get there just by being nice and doing the acceptable thing.”

Though it’s almost six years since he was elected, Bishop Robinson admitted to PW in a separate interview that it still feels surreal - like he’s not living his life but rather looking it on TV.

“It’s always stunning to me when people say, you’re my hero…” admitted. Robinson, “it doesn’t feel all that extraordinary what I’m doing.”

“I would love to talk to some of my forebears,” said Robinson. He said he doesn’t compare himself to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but, “I suspect he didn’t think he was doing anything all that extraordinary, he was just putting one foot in front of the other, hoping it was in the right direction.

“To those of us watching him, it seemed so heroic and so courageous, but I don’t know that the person who is doing it feels that way... You’re not doing it for that, but an awful lot of people have been witness to what it has meant. It’s just a surreal thing to know that you’re having that kind of effect.”

Robinson said he was impressed by the number of young people at the event.

“I think that’s a great testament because it’s hard to find people under [the age of] thirty for whom this is a big deal, but what is a big deal is putting their sexuality and their spirituality together,” he said. "They still have spiritual needs and are looking for ways to be whole and actually for all the bad things that the church can do, that’s one of the [good] things the church can do.”

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