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Coming Out

CNN anchor Don Lemon to begin living ‘my own truth’ — ‘I was born gay’

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Don Lemon, the weekend prime-time news anchor for CNN, has come out.

In his revealing, upcoming memoir, “Transparent” — due out in June — Lemon, 45, writes about his life and career, and shares the personal details of how he had grown up not knowing his father, how he had suffered abuse by someone close to him. And that he is gay.

Don Lemon

Lemon released this statement:

“Today I chose to step out on faith and begin openly living my own truth. And let me say right up front that I hope many of you will be inspired to do the same thing in your daily lives. Some of the things I’ve chosen to reveal in my book ‘Transparent’ were very difficult to share with even those closest to me.

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.

My book is dedicated to the memory of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death from a bridge after his dorm mates streamed his private business over the Internet for the world to see. Tyler might still be with us today if more gay men and women had chosen to live proudly and openly. It is also dedicated to the millions of young, gay people who believe they are alone when dealing with their own sexual identities. You are not alone! There are people, like me and many others, who are thriving in their personal and professional lives and although we sometimes have a hard time with it ourselves, we are here to show you by example that you too can overcome any obstacle as long as you stay strong and, most of all, stay alive.”

With love and honesty,

Don Lemon
May 16, 2011

Lemon has not made a secret of his sexual orientation in his work life, reported The New York Times on Sunday. Many of his CNN co-workers and managers have long been aware that he is gay. But he still acknowledged that going public in his book carries certain risks.

“I’m scared,” Lemon said. “I’m talking about something that people might shun me for, ostracize me for.”

“I think if I had seen more people like me who are out and proud, it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to say it,” Lemon said, “to walk in the truth.”

Lemon was voted as one of the 150 most powerful African-Americans by Ebony magazine in 2009.

His book is available for pre-order here.

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Filed under: LGBTQ Life, Newsmakers

33 more reader comments:

    I THINK we ALL KNEW ..
    :- )

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 8:57pm
  2. I seriously never saw this coming! I’m glad he’s out though!! Congratulations!!!! Next Anderson Cooper needs to come out ;) I. Love. Him. Haha.

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 8:58pm
  3. I would love to read this.

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:00pm
  4. Wow I never suspected him, glad hes coming out though

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:07pm
  5. Ha!!! I new it! Gaydar does not fail in many cases ;) He’s such a sweetheart, wish him the best :)

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:07pm
    :- )

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:07pm
  7. I’m sure Mr. Lemon makes all gay men proud, he is a very dignified, classy man. I don’t suppose he’s perfect, although his TV image would make him seem so, but I think it is a tribute to his courage and his character to be honest and truthful about who he is which also says that being gay is a very natural, normal thing and even TV broadcasters can be gay and get along with life like anyone else. Mr Lemon is bound to add a splash of glamour and sophistication to the image of being gay. He is a most desirable specimen according to many.

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:11pm
  8. I had always had a feeling about Don. Watching him I had kinda known in the back of my head he wasn’t straight. Good for him!!

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:11pm
  9. Congrats to don!!!!!!!!!!! now we all have to bo buy his book

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:17pm
  10. about Anderson Cooper, he knows everyone knows so doesn’t feel he needs to state the obvious… but maybe there are those in mainstream America with blocked gaydar.

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:23pm

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:28pm
  12. Aw yay!

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:28pm
  13. Gaydar SPOT ON!!

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:45pm
  14. I had no idea. He is one of the best CNN has. :)

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:48pm
  15. Was there ever any doubt about either one of them? Is our collective Gaydar that badly tuned? Maybe for Mainstream America the obvious should be spelled out….

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:58pm
  16. I have good gaydar, but maybe I didn’t see it because I rarely watch the telly.

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 10:05pm
  17. Congratulations that’s a big step to take. Welcome to the family

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 10:13pm
  18. lars, anderson cooper came out ages ago man

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 10:14pm
  19. I love him!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 10:39pm
  20. This dude is inspiring!!! It takes a lot of courage to come out of the closet!

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 12:04am
  21. First time I ever saw him was this past wknd, and I knew it instantly (beyond just wishful thinking, lol). He asked a lady he was interviewing how she was doing and she responded, “I’m good, and you?” In response, he hesitated but eventually said, “I’m reeeeally well, thanks.” You can’t be that grammatically precise and hesitant about rubbing it in without being a big ole compassionate bleeding-heart liberal gay. Lol.

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 12:42am
  22. badass. always loved him and now even more so, he will be an inspiration, hell yeah!

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 1:07am
  23. My gaydar was so right.!!! Always wondered…. Lol but I’m so proud of him.!

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 2:34am
  24. Don Lemon is 45?!

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 4:45am
  25. Proud of Don and even the more reason to watch him….

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 5:24am
  26. What’s a Gaydar, if not prejudice based on stereotypes?

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 7:16am
  27. Big shock there, I always thought Don Lemon was SO cute!

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 8:35am
  28. Natural intuition based on what? A lisp? A mannerism? Anybody can have them, and more often than not, these people are straight while you wouldn’t be able to differentiate a gay man from a straight one. This intuition is merely an observation, then a judgment based on stereotypes, nothing more. Nobody has got any kind of antenna. A gaydar is just as foolish as the alleged link between twins.

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 11:23am
  29. I agree is there is intuition. I have met many women who do not have stereotypical characteristics of a lesbian and there was just something. A connection we had that I just knew they.

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 5:54pm
  30. Mr.Lemon,
    Way to go sir!!!Thank you for being true to you. As a 43yr old black man we live with enough.It is time we be who we are.I wish you love and peace and above this I wish you JOY!!!God Bless


    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 8:25pm
  31. I am glad Don decided to let the world know that he is gay. I feel that I have known for years. Others have called it Gaydar in their comments, I guess mine must be working fine. This shouldn’t hurt Don’s career, he is so professional at his craft, people would really miss him if he wasn’t on the air anymore. For young gay black men this should be especially helpful since they have a much harder time in their communities than young white men. The 10% Rule applies to people of all colors but we always just see white men in positions of influence come out. This is good for everybody. It is wonderful that he didn’t get outed and that he could reveal the truth on his own timeline.

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 8:32pm
  32. Mr Obvious time: No one has perfect gaydar, but its not total BS either. Lindsey Graham – gay or straight?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 6:26am
  33. I knew it all along! He is tooo cute to be straight! :))

    Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 8:16pm