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|UPDATED: Gay nightclub owner’s killing raises questions about sexual orientation|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|August 27, 2010 12:52|
Durand Robinson was managing partner of a black gay nightclub and an organizer of events for Black Gay Pride. But was Robinson, who was shot to death Wednesday, gay?
As news of Robinson’s death spread, many who didn’t know him assumed from his work that he must be gay. His brother, however, says Robinson was planning to marry a girlfriend. And Robinson’s close friends and coworkers at Traxx, the popular black gay nightclub, say Robinson never discussed a girlfriend or being gay with them.
Speculation about Robinson’s sexual orientation is taking away from the real situation — a loving man was killed and police need to find the suspect, said Phillip Boone, Robinson’s business partner.
“This was not a hate crime. The story should be about finding the culprit who did this to a great, loving man,” Boone said today.
The Atlanta Police Department agrees.
“The APD will not get involved in determining Mr. Robinson's sexual orientation. Our priority is to bring his killer to justice," said APD spokesperson Carlos Campos in a statement released today.
"If our investigation uncovers evidence that Mr. Robinson was targeted for any reason that fits our definition of a 'bias crime' — including his race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation — we will take the appropriate actions to alert authorities who have the option to prosecute under that criteria.”
Robinson didn't like labels, says business partner
When asked if Robinson was gay, Boone said, “I don’t know.”
“I’m a confessed gay man. He never confessed. We never talked about it,” Boone said. “He just happened to be partners with me.”
Robinson never took a label, either — gay, straight or bisexual, Boone said.
“I’ve never seen him date. We considered him asexual. I never saw him with anyone,” he added. “I can’t say if he was gay. Only Durand can say but I never heard him say he’s an admitted gay man.”
Boone said however Robinson identified doesn’t matter — what happened to him was a senseless crime and he hopes the person who shot his friend and business partner is arrested soon.
Avian Watson, spokesperson for Traxx Girls and friend of Robinson, said others told her Robinson was not gay.
“He wasn’t gay. He’s been in our business over 25 years and people may think so — he was such a big advocate for our rights — but I never discussed his sexuality with him,” she said.
In the four years she knew Robinson, Watson said she never saw him date anyone. Traxx and Traxx Girls are well known for parties for men and women, and Watson said Robinson never missed a single event or party for either group.
“Between his business and his family, I’d think any relationship would be hard,” Watson said.
The Atlanta-Journal Constitution interviewed Prince Robinson, brother of Durand Robinson.
“He had a crowded house,” Prince Robinson told the AJC. “He was never married. I do think he was in the process of getting married [to] … his girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. He comes from a Christian background. A community activist. Never drinks. Never smokes. Didn’t have an enemy in the world.”
Anothy Toliver of Traxx also told Creative Loafing that Robinson was not gay.
Boone and Watson both said Robinson was a family man and spent his time between working and taking care of his family.
“It was kids and his business. His family was well-taken care of,” she said.
Boone and Watson were not familiar with Robinson having a girlfriend.
“I’d like to meet her though,” Watson said.
And while Robinson was active in the LGBT community, he also worked with several other organizations, Boone stressed.
“He was involved in all communities. The Salvation Army. Walking for diabetes. He worked for Delta Air Lines for nearly 30 years. He’s a family man. He just happened to be my business partner,” Boone said.
A tribute to Robinson at Traxx nightclub is slated for Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 p.m. to midnight. Traxx is located at 1287 Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA 30032.
In the Life Atlanta, the official organizer for Black Gay Pride, will also honor Robinson at its annual candlelight vigil on Sept. 1.
Top photo: Durand Robinson, left (Via Facebook)
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