Entertainment » Television

CNN Anchor Comes Out (Not Anderson Cooper)

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Monday May 16, 2011

The web has been buzzing lately that a major news anchor was coming out this week. Speculation was that it was going to be CNN's Anderson Cooper, with a few nods to ABC's David Muir.

It turned out to be Don Lemon, Cooper's colleague at CNN and host of the prime-time weekend version of CNN Newsroom. His statement comes in conjunction with the publication of his memoir "Transparent."

Lemon made news last September when he announced that he was a victim of an Atlanta church sex scandal on which he was reporting. He had kept being a sexual abuse victim a secret for years.

Lemon is the latest in a growing list of out television news personalities, who also include MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts.

Lemon’s statement reads as follows:

"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."

Robert Nesti can be reached at rnesti@edgemedianetwork.com.


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