Quoted: Don Lemon on Fear, Coming Out and Acceptance

Don Lemon

Once I was finished writing [Transparent, my new] book, my first thought was Are Black women going to support me? Will they stop watching me on TV? Will they call me a fag?

Truthfully, that would hurt me more than anything else. […]

I’m not going to lie- sharing my story hasn’t been an easy decision. Americans in general have a very limited definition of masculinity, but there’s a definite stigma in the Black community that being gay is the worst thing possible. In telling you that I’m gay, I pray that you will not judge or condemn me. If you ever thought I was a role model before, I hope you will continue to believe that because I strive to be one. If you thought I was a great journalist before, I hope you will still think the same of me. And for the record, let me say that not all gay men are feminine. There’s nothing about me that wants to be a woman. It’s stereotypes, assumptions, and religious ostracism that keeps Black gay men like me from telling the truth about who we really are.

— Don Lemon, “To My Beautiful Black Sisters…” (link goes to video), Essence Magazine, July 2011

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  • blakdiamon

    correction: in one of his *earlier* articles

    • Alexfangirl

      Do you remeber which article is was?

      • blakdiamon

        “You’re afraid that black women will say the same things they do about
        how black men should be dating black women.” He added, “I guess this
        makes me a double minority now.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/business/media/16anchor.html?_r=2

        • Sewere

          Blakdiamon,
           
          Cosign. I mean why would his first thought be “Are Black women going to support me? Will they stop watching me on TV? Will they call me a fag?”

          I mean if we’re going to be talking about intra-black issues surrounding homosexuality, I’m surprised he prioritizes the response of Black women (news flash to many black women can be homophobic just like any other ethnic group) BUT Black men play such a tremendous role in policing masculinity and the repercussions for GLBTQ are just as detrimental if not more so. So I’m a bit confused by his particular focus on black women.

  • blakdiamon

    I’m a fan of Don Lemon, even though he sort of threw black women under the bus in one of his coming out articles.

    • http://twitter.com/_Roxie_ Maria

      This has been my problem too.

  • Anonymous

    “Not all gay men are feminine”, but there’s nothing wrong with being a feminine gay man :/

    • Anonymous

      Not at all…just as there’s nothing wrong with being a masculine gay man or any other engendered type of gay man. I’m guessing what Lemon’s getting at–and trying to counter–is when one “type” of identity is presented as the “expected normal,” then that’s when the stereotypes start to curdle into place and hurt those who are the victim(s) and perpetrator(s) of the stereotypes.

    • http://twitter.com/MalikPanama Malik

      That was neither said nor implied. We all know that feminine gay men have cornered ‘the market’ about what it means to be a gay man for all races. That is why he pointed out that all gay men are not feminine. This is a good thing to point out but feminine gay men like to run about and say that gay men who don’t act like that are still closeted to some degree.

  • Anonymous

    It’s stereotypes, assumptions, and religious ostracism that keeps Black gay men like me from telling the truth about who we really are.

    This, a thousand times!

    • Lyonside

      The ones who can “pass,” because of their presentation and affectation, do so, leading to isolation from your home culture and community, the sense of hiding and insecurity, and the threat of being “outed” as a real problem hovering over your sense of self and security. Sounds familiar…