Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church, spoke in Manual’s auditorium after school on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Robinson spoke to Manual students as well as people in the Louisville community about the LGBTQ+ community and the progress that it has made in relation to the church.
The Publishers, the supporting organization for the J&C magnet, held the event as part of the guest speaker series called “Consider This”. Manual’s Gay Straight Transgender Alliance (GSTA) also supported the event.
Robinson addressed the already changing LGBTQ+ community and spoke about unifiers amongst all people in the world.
“The AIDS crisis actually made us a community,” he said, “there was no one to take care of us besides each other.”
Robinson stressed that the words in the Bible are not always applicable to the modern day.
“You cannot take a modern construct, such as sexual orientation, and plug it into an ancient text,” Robinson said.
He argued that both heterosexuality and homosexuality were not known in ancient times so they were not referred to in scripture until much later.
However, Robinson remained hopeful for the future.
“Where we’re heading…is to affirm people for any of their orientations,” Robinson said, “we should become more educated and more intersectional.”
He plans to continue his mission for the improvement of the lives of LGBTQ+ people.
“I will err on the side of love, but I will never err on the side of condemnation,” Robinson said.
GSTA member Deirdre Welch (10, J&C) said that they valued what Robinson said about how sexual orientation and gender identity will differ from person to person, so no one is identical.
“The topics discussed were not strictly directed towards those who were religious, but also the queer community and the prejudice they, and all minorities, face,” Welch said.
Manual student Jess Mays (9, J&C) found Robinson’s speech to be educational and helpful to the school and local communities.
“He gave me a better understanding of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole,” Mays said, “he explained how each group began, and how they evolved to how they are now. It really gave me a great deal of respect for them.”
“I think he gave good insight to all of us on how and why to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people better,” Mays said.
“Although everyone may not agree, there needs to be tolerance of others values at Manual,” Welch said.