Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Trailblazer: Svend Robinson

Svend Robinson
The advancement of equality and civil rights for gay Canadians owes much to Svend Robinson. The former NDP Member of Parliament, who now lives in Geneva, Switzerland with his partner, Max Riveron, was the first Canadian MP to come out as openly gay in the 1980's. One of his significant achievements while in office was getting sexual orientation added to hate-crime legislation in Canada.

In a recent interview with the Georgia Straight, Robinson recalled what it was like for the few people brave enough to participate in Vancouver gay pride marches in the late 70's.

"A lot of the people in that parade were wearing paper bags over their heads to symbolize the fact that they were afraid of losing their jobs or being beaten up..." Robinson shared.

Robinson also talks candidly about how his Burnaby office was vandalized after he came out of the closet.

Does he have any regret about being a gay trailblazer? No. Robinson declared it: "...an incredible privilege to be open, to be out, to be on the front lines... So to be part of a liberation movement to make this world a better place was very special."

You can read the full interview Robinson did with the Georgia Straight before the annual Vancouver Pride here.