Don Lemon: Out gay celebs like me are crucial

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CNN gay news hunk (and former Atlantan) Don Lemon was among the Robin Roberts fans tittering over her public coming out. The difference is that he has a bigger audience than most of those fans. And a bigger ego. He managed to make it about him as he shouted from the “OutFront” rooftops.

While some were saying “duh,” others were saying “finally,” and your granny was asking "really?" armchair sociologists and gay advocates cheered Roberts’ cancer-free Dec. 29 Facebook revelation acknowledging her girlfriend, Amber Laign. As someone who got similar attention when he “got real” (interview) as one of gay Atlanta’s own, Lemon knew that he had a golden opportunity for another moment in the big gay sun.

After you filed Roberts under “Confirmed” and moved on, Lemon was reliving his own coming out for thousands of CNN “OutFront” viewers (video above), and waxing philosophical about why it's vital that famous people like him to continue coming out and being celebrated for it.

While it was my personal choice to come out to family members co-workers and friends in my 20s, I didn’t come out publicly to the world until just a few years ago in my 40s.

I can’t speak for Robin Roberts nor any of my recently out gay colleagues. I didn’t do it sooner because I was afraid of losing my livelihood. I was afraid that you would no longer watch me.

And isn’t that what it’s all about? No wait.

I was afraid of people like Phil Robertson who claimed to love everybody while simultaneously thinking that everyone’s love isn’t equal, the people who use religion and scripture to shield bigotry now towards gays and in the past toward women and African Americans.

Lemon said he hoped that for Roberts “empowerment will quickly replace fear.” Even though he can’t speak for her or how fearful she was, but let’s not get bogged down. He goes on to say that as long as people continue to celebrate Phil Robertson’s right to speak against homosexuality, then openly gay famous people such as Roberts, Anderson Cooper, Thomas Roberts, Atlanta weather daddy Sam Champion, Rachel Maddow, and of course, himself, “should be celebrated as well.”

“That’s why it’s still important to come out and say, very simply, ‘I’m gay,’” Lemon asserted.

Gay Atlanta misses you, Don. And you on you is the best. It seems like only six months ago you were asserting, “I’m black and gay. Deal with it.” Oh, that was just six months ago. Well, it seems like six months before that you were exalting that gay rights are civil rights, vis a vis, you. Oh, right. Well, let it be said that you never back down, even when you offend blacks and gays at the same time.


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