Courageously, CNN news anchor, Don Lemon has publicly come out as a gay, partially in hopes of helping gay youth embrace their orientation. Many young people have in recent months resorted to suicide due to relentless school bullying and societal homophobia. But will Black America, deeply entrenched in its cultural and religious homophobia accept Don Lemon’s coming out? Well let’s see.
If Black America could embrace, accept and defend a convicted dog fighter, a suspected murderer and suspected pedophiles in the name of Michael Vick, OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson and R. Kelly then why could it not further embrace, accept and defend an educated, articulate, highly visible and very successful cable news anchor in the name of Don Lemon? So far black community praise of Don Lemon’s coming out has been lukewarm to tepid to say the least. Although lauded within black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) circles, his monumental step has barely registered a peep on black mainstream media radars.
For instance, Lemon’s coming out broke the news cycle on late Sunday afternoon and reverberated across the web that night into Monday throughout the day. However when I checked several black news websites at 11am EST Monday, there was not a news story posted. And when I checked several black gossip websites that NEVER miss an opportunity to gay bash black gay men, there was not a peep, hence there has been a virtual black media blackout on Lemon’s coming out.
I also checked several LGBT advocacy websites and verified that their listservs did not note Lemon’s coming out. All of this contrasts tremendously with the hysterical reporting by these very same media outlets when it came to exposing the low down, down low (DL) men stalking the lives of black women with HIV. Further, I find it astounding that arguably the most high profile and successful black news media personalities on television today comes out to help bridge understanding concerning sexuality and acceptance and absolutely no black leader comes out in support of him.
So why has it taken a full news cycle for the tepid applause to begin trickling in? Lemon, with his upcoming book release has the potential of changing the lives of many young people and adults alike who’ve struggled with sexuality issues most of their lives. He also has the potential of bridging the gulf and sometimes antagonistic relationship that exists between black gays and straight blacks, the Black church, the job and in society in general.
Whether you are straight or gay, you should embrace Don Lemon’s coming out not because of a politically correct induced statement but because he is someone taking a risk, placing himself, his career and even his physical safety on the line in order to help so many others. And that within itself is well worth my support. Congratulations to Don Lemon!!