CNN Anchor Comes Out
Anyone who’s watched CNN in recent years might recognize Don Lemon as a popular on-air personality. Over the weekend, the internationally known news anchor came out of the closet.
“Today I chose to step out on faith and begin openly living my own truth,” says Lemon in a press statement. “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.”
Lemon is the weekend prime time anchor on CNN who said he dedicates his book to Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who committed suicide when his dorm mate recorded and shared a liaison he had with another man. “Tyler might still be with us today if more gay men and women had chosen to live proudly and openly,” says Lemon. “There was a time I was terrified of revealing these things to the person I love most in this world – my mother. But when I finally mustered the courage to tell her than 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.”
He also explained that his career as a journalist had – for many years – inspired him to stay secret about his sexual orientation. He was recently named as part of Ebony‘s Power 150 – a roundup of the most influential African-Americans in the United States today. Years ago, Lemon worked in the Philly region at WCAU where he participated in several gay events.
“I, like most gay people, lived in fear,” he says. “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.”
His career also played a role in eventually coming out and writing his memoir. In addition to anchoring on CNN, Lemon serves an an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College where he graduated. And he has won an Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the D.C. sniper. He’s also won awards for his coverage of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
“As a journalist, I believe that part of my mission is to shed light onto dark places,” he adds. “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.”