As executive minister at Sunshine Cathedral, a Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Robert Griffin is witnessing a new wave of coming out stories.

“With marriage equality people are coming out in a different way,” Griffin said. “We are re-examining what it means to come out. There’s a different form of liberation and spirit happening in our community.”

Griffin, 48, was raised in a “very religious” family in rural Alabama. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy after high school where he served 10 years as a chaplain’s assistant. Griffin met his partner of 15 years, Durrell Watkins, at divinity school and together they have ministered to thousands in the LGBT community. Watkins is the senior minister at Sunshine Cathedral, a spiritual community that is welcoming and affirming of LGBT people.

“You are who you are,” Griffin said. “The presence of God is always with you.”

Griffin is also very open about his HIV status. He tested positive in 1987 and has worked hard to educate others and battle stigma. From 2006-2008, he traveled to Jamaica to confront the country’s rampant homophobia.

“I’m very justice oriented,” Griffin said. “That comes from my roots in Alabama.”

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