V. Gene Robinson became the first non-celibate openly gay Anglican bishop in 2003.
Though the Episcopal Church had previously had gay bishops, none of them were candid about their sexuality before being elected and homosexuality was (and remains) a controversial issue in the Church. In fact, Robinson's election proved so controversial, he was forced to wear a bullet-proof vest at his consecration due to death threats.
Robinson has been with his partner, Mark Andrews, for 23 years. The two were joined in a civil union in June 2008 and Robinson has two children from a previous marriage.
Robinson is a vocal advocate for LGBT acceptance and marriage equality and he recently told The Huffington Post, "It is fair to say that 90 to 95 percent of all oppression we have experienced as gay people has come through the hands of religious people, and it is going to take religious people to undo that. That’s what I am devoting my life to."
Robinson, who blogs for The Huffington Post, released his book, "God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage," in September and has a documentary about him, "Love Free or Die," coming out this month.
The bishop plans on retiring next year citing the stress and anxiety he and his husband have faced on a daily basis since he was elected:
"Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years, and in some ways, you.
While I believe that these attitudes, mostly outside the diocese, have not distracted me from my service to you, I would be less than honest if I didn't say that they have certainly added a burden and certain anxiety to my episcopate."
Each day in October, which is LGBT History Month, we'll be featuring a different LGBT icon. Check back tomorrow for a look at another incredible individual who changed history and visit our LGBT History Month Big News Page for more stories.
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