CNN’s Don Lemon on why he waited until his mid-40s to come out publicly as gay

'I was afraid of people like Phil Robertson, who claim to love everyone while simultaneously thinking that everyone's love isn't equal'

CNN’s Don Lemon on why he waited until his mid-40s to come out publicly as gay
31 December 2013

While First Lady Michelle Obama and plenty of other people have been quick to congratulate Good Morning America host Robin Roberts for coming out publicly as a lesbian, others have wondered what took her so long.

CNN’s Don Lemon took to the air on Monday (30 December) to shed some light on why he thinks Roberts or any television news personality is still reluctant.

‘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,’ Lemon admitted. ‘I was afraid that you would no longer watch me.’

Lemon, 47, came out publicly in 2011 although he had been out in his private life to family and friends for decades.

‘I was afraid of people like (Duck Dynasty patriarch) Phil Robertson, who claim to love everyone while simultaneously thinking that everyone’s love isn’t equal,’ Lemon said. ‘The people who use religion and scripture to shield bigotry now toward gays and in the past toward women and African Americans.’

Of Roberts, Lemon said: ‘Hopefully for Robin, like me, empowerment quickly replaced fear once I did come out. And if people like Phil Robertson are deserving of keeping their platforms and are even defended and celebrated, then people like Don Lemon, or Thomas Roberts, or Rachel Maddow, or Sam Champion, or Anderson Cooper, or Robin Roberts are also deserving of their platforms and should be celebrated as well. That’s why it’s still important to come out and say very simply, "I’m gay."’

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