When we first read the headlines on the Interwebs – “CNN Anchor Comes Out” – our hearts skipped a beat and we were expecting to see Anderson Cooper’s face as we clicked through. But surprisingly, it was not Anderson but handsome 45-year old anchor Don Lemon. Don Lemon has made the news once before for an incredible on-air revelation – that he was the victim of sexual assault (video below).
In an interview with The New York Times, Lemon revealed that he was, in fact, gay, and will be speaking frankly about it in his new book, Transparent (yes, a very convenient time to come out…perhaps I need to go back into the closet so I can get some free publicity for a book in 20 years?!?!).
Lemon spoke candidly to the Times about the risks of coming out gay in a fast-paced, 24 hour news cycle:
“I’m scared,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’m talking about something that people might shun me for, ostracize me for.”
Even beyond whatever effect his revelation might have on his television career, Mr. Lemon said he recognized this step carried special risk for him as a black man.
“It’s quite different for an African-American male,” he said. “It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.” He said he believed the negative reaction to male homosexuality had to do with the history of discrimination that still affects many black Americans, as well as the attitudes of some black women.
“You’re afraid that black women will say the same things they do about how black men should be dating black women.” He added, “I guess this makes me a double minority now.”
Don Lemon, congratulations on making such a difficult decision. We are pleased to have another high-profile gay that can help raise awareness about gay rights, equality and all the other issues of our time. Indeed, the more the merrier!