Monday, January 26, 2015

Q & A with Peter Robertson

Q&A is a new feature for Gay Central Valley

featuring questions and answers from members of the community

A three-time graduate of Fresno State, PETER ROBERTSON holds a BA in Art & Design, an MA in Mass Communication and an MBA in Marketing.

As an undergraduate student, he was a founding member of United Student Pride and co-founder and last year’s festival director of Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival. As a first-time graduate student, he was selected a grand marshal for the inaugural Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival; and as a second-time graduate student, he founded the Bulldog Pride Fund – a $355,000 endowed scholarship that was established under the auspices of the Fresno State Alumni Association. By next fall, it have provided 41 scholarships with a total value of $75,000.

How long have you lived in the Central Valley?

I moved to Fresno the day after my 21st birthday, in June of 1984. That’s nearly 31 years ago!

Married or single?

Happily partnered since 1983, legally married since 2008.

When did you come out to the first person in your life?

I was a freshman of junior college, while living in Washington State. I finally admitting to myself that it wasn’t the “acting” that I liked in “The Hardy Boys” starring Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson.

Something you like about yourself?

My sincere smile.

Something you dislike about yourself?

My struggle with being overweight.

Character trait in others that you most admire?

Their sincerity.

Character trait in others that you most dislike?

Their hypocrisy.

What is your biggest regret?

Not doing some things sooner in life. But, life is a journey and I finally did do most of them.

What are you most passionate about?

Assisting students in fulfilling their educational dreams via the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund at Fresno State. My goal was to make a positive difference in the life of a student. The table's have turned, and now the student's are making a positive difference in my life. I am so blessed!

Favorite thing to do in your free time?

Nap. Nap. Nap. And enjoy a cigar now and then.

What aggravates you the most?

Drivers that don’t use their turn signals.

What makes you the happiest?

Drivers that do use their turn signals.

What are you, quite frankly, over?

James Franco. Justin Bieber. Ryan Seacrest. Guy Fieri. Ty Pennington. Pat Robertson. John Boehner. And, “Duck Dynasty.”

What is your biggest challenge?

Understanding that my passion may not necessarily be anyone else’s.

What was your favorite decade so far?

The current decade, from 2011 to the present. Because of my wisdom, which comes with age.

Who is your favorite person to talk to?

My dear husband is my best friend, Victor Kral. We’ll be 32 years strong in June! And, the Lindo twins -- Jared and Jason -- which have become like nephews to me.

Name a person you know personally who has had the biggest impact on you?

Celebrity-wise would have to be Eartha Kitt; we had an amazing 25 year friendship. I admired her outspokenness, convictions and search for truth.

Name a person you don’t know who has had the biggest impact on you?

Harvey Milk. Excerpts from his speech at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day in 1978 are some of my all-time favorites quotes:

“On the Statue of Liberty it says: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…’ In the Declaration of Independence, it is written: ‘All men are created equal and they are endowed with certain inalienable rights…’ And in our National Anthem, it says: ‘Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave over the land of the free.’ For Mr. Briggs and Mrs. Bryant and all the bigots out there: that’s what America is. No matter how hard you try, you cannot erase those words from the Declaration of Independence. No matter how hard you try, you cannot chip those words off the base of the Statue of Liberty and no matter how hard you try, you cannot sing the Star-Spangled Banner without those words. That’s what America is. Love it or leave it.”

The most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Patience is indeed a virtue.

Besides a phone, what piece of technology can you not live without?

MeTV. I love watching re-runs of “The Rockford Files” and “Colombo.” Also, “Perry Mason” and “Hawaii 5-0.”

What superpower would you most like to have?

I have no idea. Sorry.

Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?

Julian Perez. He’s a triple-threat. He can act, dance and sing. I can do none of these, so he’d make me look great and sound damn good!

What is the best part of your day?

The alpha and the omega. The beginning (getting up) and the end (falling asleep).

What is your proudest moment?

There are a few. Being publicly recognized for being a part of wonderful projects much, much bigger than myself: Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival honoring me with the title “Festival Director Emeritus.” Being inducted in Fresno State’s Mass Communication & Journalism Hall of Fame. Receiving a Top Dog Alumnus Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association. Hands On California’s Spirit of Caring Award. Being inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. Receiving Fresno State’s Staff Spirit of Service Award. And, serving a grand marshal for Fresno's first Pride Parade -- celebrating its 25th anniversary this June!

What have you overcome?

Sometimes we, ourselves, are our biggest obstacles. For me, I was abandoned as an infant and lived in an orphanage in Bogota, Colombia. At the age of four, I was adopted by Baptist Missionaries. (They, too, later abandoned me during my coming-out journey as a young-adult). By the time I was five, my name was changed from Gustavo Beltran to Peter Robertson, and I had immigrated to the United States and settled in Mount Vernon, Wash. Looking back, these were some of the best things that could happen to me, but at the time the struggles were extremely challenging. I n fact, I still deal with abandonment issues.

Where your ideal place to live?

I really like Fresno. I must, it’s been a 35 year life here, so far. Here’s to the next 35! For those that don’t like it here, I always suggest to being a part of the solution to make Fresno better. Or shut up and leave!

What words do you live by?

BONUS INTRA. MELIOR EXI. It’s Latin and translates: Enter good, Exit better. That’s what an education does for someone. They “enter” college or university “good,” and will, with their degree in hand, “exit better.” It’s also a double-entendre. We want to “enter” the world, or life, which is “good;” but also “exit” or leave it “better” for future generations.


  1. Having known Peter Robinson and his husband Victor Kral for many years I can truly say they are constantly doing amazing things for our community. There are some dynamic duos in this great community of ours and Peter and Vic are 2 of them. They both have one outstanding common quality. Their smile. I have a very strong feeling that for both of them "The best is yet to come".

  2. You're amazing, Peter Robinson!!!! I am so happy that Reel Pride has given me the opportunity to get to know and work side by side with this amazing leader and visionary. Thank you for being so wonderful!


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