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CNN Anchor Don Lemon: 'I Was Born Gay'

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CNN anchor Don Lemon has come out publicly in an interview with the New York Times. Lemon, who says he has never made a secret of his homosexuality at work, talks about the fear he has about the potential reaction he might face from the black community.

“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.”

He adds:

“I think it would be great if everybody could be out,” he said. “But it’s such a personal choice. People have to do it at their own speed. I respect that. I do have to say that the more people who come out, the better it is for everyone, certainly for the Tyler Clementis of the world.”

Lemon tweeted a message of thanks to all of those who have shown him support.

Twitter

Lemon also sent out an offical statement in which he said his new book, Transparent is dedicated to Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. His statement in part:

"There was a time when I was terrified of revealing these things to the person I love most in this world - my own mother. But when I finally mustered the courage to tell her that I had been molested as a child and that I was born gay, my life began to change in positive ways that I never imagined possible. Yet I still chose to keep those secrets hidden from the world. I, like most gay people, lived a life of fear. Fear that if some employers, co-workers, friends, neighbors and family members learned of my sexuality, I would be shunned, mocked and ostracized. It is a burden that millions of people carry with them every single day. And sadly, while the mockery and ostracizing are realized by millions of people every day, I truly believe it doesn’t have to happen and that’s why I feel compelled to share what I’ve written in Transparent. As a journalist I believe that part of my mission is to shed light onto dark places. So, the disclosure of this information does not inhibit in any way my ability to be the professional, fair and objective journalist I have always been."

Lemon will be doing a lengthy interview with Michelangelo Signorile on his SiriusXM radio show on Tuesday.

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Comments

  1. welcome out baby!! here's hoping none of the negativity surrounding adult celebs who come out will happen around this news. god bless!

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | May 16, 2011 1:08:45 AM


  2. What a beautiful man.

    Posted by: Rocco | May 16, 2011 1:33:30 AM


  3. Congratulations Don! Love you on CNN Weekends.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | May 16, 2011 1:40:04 AM


  4. Can we count on Anderson Cooper to follow suit?

    Posted by: Bravo | May 16, 2011 2:02:53 AM


  5. BEAUTIFUL!!!

    And we thank you and LOVE you......WELCOME!!

    Posted by: CHRIS DACHOCOLATEBEARCUB | May 16, 2011 2:22:30 AM


  6. First MSNBC. Now CNN. Will FOX News Channel be next? (Shepard Smith)

    Posted by: Philo | May 16, 2011 2:25:21 AM


  7. Good for him and congratulations!

    Posted by: Damien | May 16, 2011 3:01:28 AM


  8. Very nicely done.

    Posted by: brent | May 16, 2011 3:08:53 AM


  9. I think people like Charles Perez and now Don Lemon should be congratulated and supported! Best of luck to both Charles and Don!

    Posted by: Joe | May 16, 2011 3:12:41 AM


  10. wow i though he was already out. I remember the first cnn NY eve special with Kathy Griffin and Don said, "Hey Kathy, Woo girl, I love you."

    Posted by: Aaron | May 16, 2011 3:35:01 AM


  11. Rick Welts, Don Lemon. When it rains, it pours.

    Posted by: Jedi | May 16, 2011 3:46:44 AM


  12. So...you're saying there's a chance...

    Posted by: Cute Bobby | May 16, 2011 4:13:02 AM


  13. damn, the gossip rags had it right. it was first a blind item around which newscaster was huddling with howard bragman (who seems to have built himself a nice little niche clientele)and after ruling out AC, the guesses went right to don lemon, and whaddaya know, right on schedule.

    maybe sam champion is ready to go public? or robin roberts?

    the uninitiated public is in for a rude awakening as the begin to realize we are everywhere.

    Posted by: bandanajack | May 16, 2011 5:46:19 AM


  14. I'm really annoyed that I didn't guess this one.

    Posted by: Jason 2 | May 16, 2011 6:06:36 AM


  15. cool

    I wonder how much if at all Rachel Maddows interview ,where she talked about news reporters/anchors coming out, might have helped him over the last hurdle

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv | May 16, 2011 6:34:38 AM


  16. He also shared a story of childhood sexual abuse by a priest on the air before. You can bet that the religious conservatives are gonna draw that connection and celebrate in style.

    Posted by: Sam | May 16, 2011 7:12:02 AM


  17. Thank you for being courageous, Don! It *will* make a difference.

    Posted by: Bastian | May 16, 2011 7:18:57 AM


  18. Anderson Cooper should be ashamed of himself for continuing to hide in the closet. I hope Lemon's career soars.

    Posted by: Anonymous | May 16, 2011 7:33:03 AM


  19. All the best to Don Lemon. Anderson Cooper should be ashamed of himself.

    Posted by: CRISPY | May 16, 2011 7:47:50 AM


  20. Everyone knows that Cooper is gay and I think there impact is COMPLETELY different.

    As a black man in the news, this is much more powerful then the liberal white guy from NewYork who takes his boyfriend everywhere with him from holidays to grand marshall parades to Oscar parties.

    There are some people who you want them to do the big 'I am gay' splash and there others who are already out by being visible with their partners plus being involved in gay rights.

    Posted by: Rowan | May 16, 2011 8:05:48 AM


  21. i don't have tv, but i'm glad he's out. i can't chastise anderson cooper, last thing he needs is hate from the str8 AND gay community. mr. lemon says in his statement that everyone needs to come out at their own speed. anderson needs to know we will be here waiting with open arms. i also wonder if it would be physically dangerous for him to come out. after all he does put himself at risk by reporting live from troubled areas around the world, in places where gays are openly murdered without fear of retribution.

    Posted by: kodiak | May 16, 2011 8:09:20 AM


  22. welcome home, Don! I knew you were too cute to be straight.

    Posted by: gaylib | May 16, 2011 8:28:37 AM


  23. This is huge. Don is a great anchor and seems like a sweet guy. I look forward to him stepping into the spotlight within the LGBT community as a result of this. Let's hope this leads to even more success and happiness for him.

    Posted by: Chris | May 16, 2011 8:51:30 AM


  24. This will embarrass Anderson Cooper, don't you think?

    Posted by: Tim | May 16, 2011 8:54:42 AM


  25. Remember-Don Lemon is mostly a studio CNN reporter-Anderson Cooper has gone out into the field to report from places where being homosexual is a crime punishable by death. Anderson has never made a secret of his personal life just saying that he prefers to".... report the news and not BE the news." In a recent event, Anderson was one of the Grand Masters of the Endymion Mardi Gras parade held this last March in New Orleans and brought his boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani, along to celebrate! Here is a link to a photo of them both looking quite proud and happy together . Coming out is a very very personal decision and I congratulate Don Lemon for his courage and also I respect Anderson's very personal decision to live his life openly but discreetly .


    http://www.rickybitch.com/2011/03/07/anderson-cooper-brings-boyfriend-mardi-gras/

    Posted by: slippy | May 16, 2011 9:07:50 AM


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