Bullying | CNN | Don Lemon

CNN Anchor Don Lemon: 'I Was Born Gay'


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.


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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  1. Congrats Mr. Lemon!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 16, 2011 9:10:37 AM

  2. My gardar gets rustier by the day, I had no idea Don Lemon was gay. But I knew he was an excellent anchor by the way he covered the riots in Iran last year - when MSNBC was rerunning one of its' prison shows.

    Glad he's come out - and I hope Anderson Cooper finds it in himself to come out also.

    Posted by: Hank | May 16, 2011 9:11:31 AM

  3. I have to say though, it is most unfortunate that he didn't think about what a poor choice it was to state that he was molested and born gay in the same sentence.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 16, 2011 9:12:18 AM

  4. Is Mr. Lemon the person we were told would come out this week? If so, kudos. I think he's an even better choice than Anderson Cooper.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 16, 2011 9:14:17 AM


    Posted by: USMC_VET | May 16, 2011 9:15:34 AM

  6. I am happy for, proud of, and grateful to Mr. Lemon.

    I will listen to his Sirius interview with Signorile on Tuesday.

    Apparently, his tie was "born gay" as well.

    Posted by: Jake | May 16, 2011 9:34:37 AM

  7. that's great

    this actually surprises me - watch this guy almost every day & it never really crossed my mind

    this must be the anchor coming out everyone was speculating about last week - everyone assumed it was Cooper

    handsome guy, brave move - have to applaud him

    Posted by: neverstops | May 16, 2011 9:44:09 AM

  8. The real story here is he's 45...I thought the guy was between 28-34.

    Posted by: LionsShower | May 16, 2011 9:47:39 AM

  9. Kudos to Don.

    Anderson Cooper = Richard Chamberlain. By the time he comes out he'll be a doddering old man.

    Posted by: kranbree | May 16, 2011 9:50:33 AM

  10. All the best and success to him.

    Posted by: Matt26 | May 16, 2011 9:57:56 AM

  11. @LionsShower - those CNN guys keep well

    that hot weather guy Rob Marciano is in his mid-40's too... they have some sort of "Death Becomes Her" elixir they pass around or bathe in virgins' blood or something

    Posted by: neverstops | May 16, 2011 10:02:01 AM

  12. "And NOW a warning???!!!!"

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 16, 2011 10:09:53 AM

  13. Glass Closet Cases always say "I don't want sexuality to be the Big Thing about me. It's just one part of my life." OK fine. The trouble is when you refuse to discss it gayness becomes what Roland Barthes would call the 'structuring absence" of your life. Look at rachel Maddow. The fact that she's a lesbain isn't the center of her being. She's got her own (teriffic) style and deals with all manner of issues on her show. The fact that she's out is enormously helpful in this regard. Same with Thomas Roberts and now Don Lemon.

    Meanwhile Anderson Cooper remains stuck in"I don't want to talk about my oersonal life" mode, leading him to lie when he let slip the truth in that contentious interview he did with Jerry Falwell years ago. Remember that?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 16, 2011 10:14:37 AM

  14. Congrats -- You'll be loved no matter what. Be Blessed!

    Posted by: glenclar | May 16, 2011 10:24:09 AM

  15. The reaction here to Mr. Lemon's coming out is largely positive. The reaction to Mr. Welt's coming out is largely negative. I'm not entirely sure why that is.

    I'm supportive of anyone coming out at any time. It's a personal decision that is cruel to question. All that matters is that we all come out.

    Posted by: Sean | May 16, 2011 10:50:59 AM

  16. "I have to say though, it is most unfortunate that he didn't think about what a poor choice it was to state that he was molested and born gay in the same sentence."

    Lemon clearly states that he was born gay. Unless he was molested before he was born I don't see how anyone could make any kind of connection. I think his point in mentioning it is the relief associated with being open and truthful about who we are. I commend him on the courage to tell the truth on both accounts.

    Posted by: gaylib | May 16, 2011 10:59:52 AM

  17. @David E

    I disagree with your comment on Rachel Maddow and the implications about Anderson Cooper.

    Rachel DOES make it a big deal not only in how she presents herself, the reports she chooses to take on, and how she interviews particular guests. Of all the gay people on television I think that she makes her orientation an armbadge--and that is her choice.

    However, there are some who choose to live their lives like everyone else, neither hiding their sexuality or explaining it. Straight people don't explain they are straight. They are just seen going to events with their SOs...just like Anderson Cooper.

    He has NEVER hid his boyfriend. The boyfriend goes everywhere with him. THAT is his statement. He makes the statement every single day that gay IS normal.

    Posted by: Rin | May 16, 2011 11:13:07 AM

  18. I am really really glad young black gays now have a positive role model. but........

    I really cant help noticing that yet again the "coming out" coincides with a book no one would have bought a few days ago.

    Posted by: Homo Genius | May 16, 2011 11:13:37 AM

  19. All this hating on Anderson Cooper is really old and tired. He IS out. He lives his life as an out man. He does not lie about his sexual orientation or parade around a fake girlfriend.

    Some people choose to make a statement on the cover of Time or People (for very legitimate reasons), and others choose to simply live their lives day-to-day, and be the best they can be at their work. I respect both.

    Posted by: Andrew | May 16, 2011 11:19:12 AM

  20. He's right to fear his own Black community. 80% of the Black votes in the CA Prop 8 election were for Prop 8 and against gay marriage. We owe him our support, encouragement and thanks for speaking out publicly and putting his career on the line as well as his life. Kudos to the guy!

    Posted by: OS2Guy | May 16, 2011 11:22:03 AM

  21. "The reaction here to Mr. Lemon's coming out is largely positive. The reaction to Mr. Welt's coming out is largely negative. I'm not entirely sure why that is."

    Here's why:

    Welts is a rich old white man with absolutely nothing to lose ever -- he had the support of his entire family, friends and even his employers -- who would rather deny his own partner's death than be honest with all the people who already knew what was going and supported him while he insisted on their silence.

    Lemon is a black man working in a highly visible field whose livelihood depends on his being accepted by a mass audience and whose acceptance by his own community is in no way guaranteed.

    What Lemon did is heroic. What Welts did is pathetic. In 2011, it's acceptable for a black man whose face is on TV every day to wait until his 40s to come out, but it is cowardly and idiotic for a rich white man who has everyone's support to wait until his 50s to come out and to do so in the damn New York Times as if he'd actually done something other than reveal what a stupid fool he's been his entire life.

    Posted by: ohplease | May 16, 2011 11:25:46 AM

  22. Kudos to Lemon and to Welts.

    Lemon didn't need to announce. All he had to do is show up in that tie!

    Posted by: Mark | May 16, 2011 11:46:48 AM

  23. Roberts didn't last long at CNN after he came out, so let's see what happens to Mr. Lemon. He's probably getting up there in years too, and only lead anchors are allowed to age.

    Posted by: anon | May 16, 2011 11:55:31 AM

  24. Congratulation !!! We are proud of you !

    Posted by: Sinisa | May 16, 2011 1:04:13 PM

  25. @ Anon

    Roberts had nude photos and a profile on a hook up site surface. That is why he disappeared from the air for a few years. Also, its not about how old you are, its how old you LOOK. Lemon doesn't look a day over 33.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | May 16, 2011 1:07:39 PM

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