Robison, Gil Papers
Span Dates: 1959-1997
Volume: 3.13 linear ft.
This collection documents Gilmore "Gil" Robison's career fighting for LGBT rights as a political activist and elected official. Materials show his efforts to legalize gay marriage, to create the Atlanta Gay Center, to battle a law that targeting gay men by banning prostitution, and to stop police harassment of the LGBT community. Materials include official records of the Georgia Democratic Party, which contain voter registration documents and lists of representatives, as well as flyers, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings advertising Democratic candidates in the 1977 Atlanta City Council election. The collection also contains surveys issued by First Tuesday Democratic Association polling the candidates on their views on LGBT issues. Other materials include documents from LGBT evangelical groups as well as Catholic organizations performing LGBT outreach, and newsletters organizing events for local Atlanta artists and folk musicians.
Gilmore “Gil” Robison (1947- ) was born in Macon, Mississippi, to Sue Bess Robison (1912-2017) and John Conrad Robison (1910-1999). The family lived in Scooba, Mississippi, until moving in 1958 to Atlanta, Georgia. Robison attended Emory University between 1965 and 1966, graduated from San Francisco Art Institute in 1972 with majors in film and photography, and earned a Juris Doctor from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1982. He founded the first Atlanta Gay Center in 1976, and later opened a second location. Robison was active in Atlanta politics as a proponent of LGBT rights. He was one of the first openly gay Georgia politicians, serving on the Georgia State Democratic Convention and the Executive Committee of the Fulton County Democratic Party. In 1988, as the first openly gay person to run for public office in Georgia, he ran for the Fulton County seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. He won the majority vote on the east side of Fulton County, which was the first demonstrable evidence of the power of Atlanta's gay vote. Robison wrote and was a photographer for several alternative Atlanta publications, including the Great Speckled Bird and the Metropolitan Gazette, where he served as the editor between 1980 and 1982. Robison advocated for HIV/AIDS related issues between 1986 and 1990, securing funds through the Georgia General Assembly to fight the epidemic, and working as the first Atlanta attorney dedicated to related legal matters. In 1996 Robison was ordained as a monk in the Drikung Kapyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
An online finding aid is available.
The collection is housed at the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center
130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305
Buddhist | Atlanta | Evangelical | Catholic (Roman) | Georgia | Gay Liberation Movement