Svend Robinson

(1952 – )

Svend Robinson, who served in the Canadian House of Commons from 1979 to 2004, became the nation’s first openly gay M.P. in 1988. In 1995 he was a candidate for the leadership of the New Democratic Party, coming second to the winner, Alexa McDonough. He was a parliamentary leader in human rights campaigns, including the ‘right to die’. His Canadian political career came to an ignominious end in 2004 when he stole a ring. He later attributed the act to mental illness. David Rayside has presented a compelling portrait of Robinson, which notes that the fact that he was “youthful, good-looking, well educated, white, and male” (1998:188) did much to make him acceptable to a broad range of Canadians. Despite those politically advantageous qualities, Robinson proved an invaluable champion of gay and lesbian and human rights more generally.



Rayside, David and Clyde Wilcox, eds. 2011. Faith, Politics and Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Rayside, David. 1998. On the Fringe.Cornell: Cornell University Press.

Rayside, David. 2008. Queer Inclusions. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

“Svend Robinson,”