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. Thank you, Don Lemon!

    Posted by: Frederick | May 16, 2011 1:12:39 PM

  2. "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"

    Oh, yes, he can really put his trust in you...after he shows three forms of indentification, of course.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 16, 2011 1:12:48 PM

  3. Sending Don Lemon much appreciation and best wishes!

    Posted by: Jim | May 16, 2011 1:13:56 PM

  4. Congrats Don. A beautiful man inside and out...and a welcome figure for gay visibility.

    Posted by: Lavenderpop | May 16, 2011 1:18:37 PM

  5. Congrats and welcome :) I am very happy for him.

    Posted by: Akira | May 16, 2011 1:29:54 PM

  6. Thanks, Mr. Lemon.

    Posted by: Roger | May 16, 2011 1:55:18 PM

  7. @ Bandanajack:
    Hee hee hee......yes, we are everywhere.......

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 16, 2011 2:42:49 PM

  8. I've always respected Don. This just makes me like him even more.

    I don't understand all the vitriol toward Welts and Cooper. Unlike some closeted politicians and clergy, those men, like Lemon, have never been hostile to our community. Our hateful comments will only discourage them from coming out.

    Posted by: d | May 16, 2011 2:52:43 PM

  9. @Brian in Texas: Wishful thinking aside (Who wouldn't want to imagine Thomas Roberts under the suit!), I won't buy every rumor I read on the Internet. Somebody found a pic of a hunk dark-haired man's butt,and thinks it looks like what Thomas Roberts' butt would look like... Ever notice (referring back to wishful thinking) that no one ever finds pics that look like Walter Cronkite's butt?).
    I don't know any more than you do, but I think moving to the nation's capital to be with his partner, nearby his family'shome state, and work Ina high-profile position on a progressive network sounds like a more likely reason he left CNN than the rumor you found by a random dude on the Internet.

    Anyway, I've always known that Don Lemon was fair and compassionate in his views, but I had no idea he was gay.

    It feels like there is a multiplier effect going on here. A gay anchor is no longer huge news, and that's a great thing! I've noticed every mainstream news team has become more understanding (or "less misinformed") as of late. A gay co-worker tends to help people to re-think.

    I'm so proud to count Don Lemon among us!

    Posted by: Gregv | May 16, 2011 3:20:09 PM

  10. Well, look who just got a whole lot cuter! Yes, he's going to get a lot of flack from black viewers, but he's a brave man & clearly tough enough enough to weather the storm. Hopefully, the storm blows over before it even gets started.

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | May 16, 2011 3:45:13 PM

  11. To tell the truth I don't remember whether I was gay or not at birth.....I remember nothing about it....
    I know I was never straight.....does that help ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 16, 2011 3:49:49 PM

  12. " Yes, he's going to get a lot of flack from black viewers"

    Yes, and he'll become the darling of Southern White Baptists.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 16, 2011 4:16:21 PM

  13. Thanks for covering Don and Rick's stories! Now, if you had only covered Charles Perez's book, that would have been nice, too.

    Posted by: Joe | May 16, 2011 5:24:43 PM

  14. Don Lemon is fantastic. One of the best anchors out there. This is GREAT news!! Bravo to you Don!

    Posted by: hephaestion | May 16, 2011 7:05:12 PM

  15. Ive had a crush on Don for years and my gar dar was right on track!

    Posted by: Tagg | May 16, 2011 7:07:21 PM

  16. Well good for him, but he was outed ON-AIR months ago. I was watching the actual show when a gay guest said they looked forward to seeing Don at some gay event. Don was clearly caught off guard and embarrassed.

    But none the less, welcome Don! And yes, he's a very good-looking man.

    Posted by: Matt | May 16, 2011 7:26:38 PM

  17. 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

    OK Miss 0S2Guy you idiot...Now the black vote for for Prop 8 has now went to 80%???

    Here queen read this it's fundamental

    I knew someone was going to mess up a good moment!

    Posted by: CHRIS DACHOCOLATEBEARCUB | May 17, 2011 1:32:13 AM

  18. Any thing goes for non-believers. But for those who believe in Christ, Knows this is an abomination in the site of God who did not create another man to be the companion for Men. You desire your own Flesh, and just nasty behind close door and want the world to accept it. when you know deep down in your soul it is 'Not Right". If this were not so, why do we need to know you are gay or straight.

    Posted by: Beth | May 17, 2011 8:39:49 AM

  19. The time is fastly approaching when people will finally begin to see that there are so many Gays in the world today, some whom you may be working or living with even, that the old prejudices of the day and age of long ago cannot withstand scrutiny. It is never a choice to be Gay. It is what one is born with, in fact, so much so as the color of your skin that is unchangeable. Time to End the Prejudice and coexist peacefully with Gays and Lesbians.

    Posted by: Born ThatWay | May 17, 2011 9:53:35 AM

  20. One must ALWAYS remember that Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, spoke absolutely NOTHING as to being Gay or Lesbian being sinful. It is also not one of God's Ten Commandments either, so what does that tell you? That it is actually *man's* own prejudices and fears that bring them to use Biblical passages that do not apply and that speak to something else! And people, also remember that it is by the Blood of Jesus Christ that we are Saved and He said absolutely nothing against being Gay or Lesbian. Enough said. End of story.

    Posted by: Sinful Not | May 17, 2011 10:15:11 AM

  21. I support him coming out and admitting his sexual preference. I wish him all the best. I dont think he was born gay...allot of individuals who were sexual abused as a child are gay. You are being introduced to a sexual lifestyle at an impressionable age.
    I wish he had told him mom at the time when it happened to him. The shame of sexual abuse prevents us from dealing with this issue when it needs confrontation.
    All circumstances are different and i wish all the children who are sexually abused had the option to choose for themselves instead of being introduced to a sexual lifestyle involuntary....
    A concerned mother

    Posted by: Bella | May 17, 2011 11:25:29 AM

  22. BELLA,

    A lot of children are sexually abused because they are ALREADY Gay--especially Gay boys. Sometimes the attacker will justify (in his demented thinking) his sexual assault because the boy is Gay.

    And that's about as much patience as I can muster on this part of the topic...Andy Towle doesn't allow profanity on this blog anymore, and I'm about to go there.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 17, 2011 11:41:27 AM

  23. Don, I am sorry but I do not buy the fact that you think that you was born gay. There is no such thing! I very sad to learn that you are gay. How does this connect to your believe in God and way He feel about this belief.

    Posted by: David Laster | Jun 17, 2011 10:07:43 PM

  24. Im sorry to learn that you are gay, Don. Trust me, you were not born that way. God meant for men to be with women, not men, according to the Bible. Only Satan himself has spread that lie that people are born gay and that they can't help it. If you really "want" to change, with God's help you can. The Bible says that God is going to destroy fornicators, adulterers, men who lie with men, women who lie with women etc. Why would you want to displease God? While He is a loving, caring and merciful God, He still has standards and He wants us to live up to them. When He, God, put Adam with Eve, He made no mistake. If you can't procreate naturally with your mate as God intended, Don, then you shouldn't be with that mate!!!!

    Posted by: JPM | Mar 25, 2012 11:42:43 PM



    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON | Jun 23, 2012 11:20:56 AM

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