CNN weekend news anchor Don Lemon became the talk of Twitter timelines yesterday after sharing the link to a New York Times story in which he publically came out and admitted he was gay.

This revelation came as a result of Lemon’s new book, Transparent, in which he writes openly and honestly about his life and career.

Last year during the Bishop Eddie Long scandal, Lemon—who is more comfortable reporting news than making it—revealed that he was molested as a child. While these things—Lemon’s childhood molestation and his sexuality—are not connected, Lemon knows that some will say his homosexuality happened as a result of being molested.

“People are going to say: ‘Oh, he was molested as a kid and now he is coming out.’ I get it,” he told the New York Times.

Although Lemon was open about his sexuality to his family, friends, and many of his coworkers, he was worried about coming out in public because of the negative views some, especially African Americans, still hold about homosexuality.

The NY Times writes:

“I’m scared,” Lemon said in a telephone interview. “I’m talking about something that people might shun me for, ostracize me for.”

Even beyond whatever effect his revelation might have on his television career, Mr. Lemon said he recognized this step carried special risk for him as a black man.

“It’s quite different for an African-American male,” he said. “It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.” He said he believed the negative reaction to male homosexuality had to do with the history of discrimination that still affects many black Americans, as well as the attitudes of some black women.

“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.”

For all of our progressiveness, homophobia is still a very divisive issue in the Black community. Just last week a student of mine (who is not gay) complimented a male teacher on his outfit, and the teacher immediately scolded the teen, telling him it is never ok to compliment a man on his outfit. This man—a teacher no less—once again reinforced the idea that men, and specifically Black men, cannot be affectionate or give props to one another without having their sexuality called into question.

While I understand that the majority of many African-Americans are religious, which informs our stance on issues such as homosexuality, many of us shun our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters when we should be embracing them with open arms.

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  • Jess

    How is the Black community the most homophobic when it was whites who for years had laws on the books banishing gays from every realm of social life? And places like India just now rescinded its anti-homosexual ban approx. 2 or 3 years ago? And Latino-American communities are harsh on gay men and women too? And places in Africa, Asia and the Middle east have laws in the book that make it completely illegal to come out as gay?

    Please kill it with the “Blame the Black community for every problem” crap. There are Blacks who are homophobic as there are others who are not. Black people have the right to not like gay people. Period. We do not have to accept that lifestyle as right, normal or natural. Plenty of Black men don’t like Black women, and ya’ll are OK with that. So why the push on us accepting gays?

    All we have to do is respect your life as humans and let you live freely and peaceable. Which is what the overwhelming majority of most Black people do. And gays have to return the same respect to heterosexuals. Period.

    Be gay and happy, and get on with your life. Stop trying to make a news story or force your own personal agenda down our throats. If I don’t like that lifestyle, then I just don’t like it. Period. Just like I don’t like rutabaga.

    And all this blather from Don Lemon about being afraid of the Black community and what Black women will say is a crap scapegoating cop-out.

    How ’bout this novel idea – Maybe he should be afraid of other GAYS, since he was RAPED AND MOLESTED BY. A. MAN. Yes, BY. A. MAN.

    A GAY man rapist, obviously since he raped a male, not female. So blame him for your fears, not Black women, not the Black community as a whole. Nuff said.

    • aschops

      Dumb ape decries “myth” that Blacks are homophobes, gets overtaken by passion, and sets out to prove as correct precisely what she intended to refute.

  • Kit

    It is not black people who labelled homosexuality a mental illness in the DSM (only removed in 1986).

  • Chris

    CNN & Fixed News-Promoting the spead of bacteria. Supporting same sex marriage (that only lasts about a year or so. Then off to your next partner-probably of the opposite sex). Spreading bacteria/ supporting yeast infections.

    • Tom

      I’ve been with my partner for almost 14 years.

  • katiana

    Don neglected to mention that 70% of black women are not married. Of course black women are concerned that half of our men or either gay, in jail, or dating white women only. We deserve to be married and raise children in a two parent household. We are okay to bed and have children by but not to marry obviously by the 70% of us not being married. It is irresponsible to act as if he does not understand our plight. Yes i was saddened to know we lost another one to the other team

    • Ravi

      Half? you exaggerate a little. estimates are between 4 and 10% are gay which is pretty close to what it is for black women. Less than 10% are in prison and I don’t think any of us know how many black men deal with white women exclusively. Unless he is married to a white woman, you can’t really assume that he is only dealing with white women. Only a few hundred thousand are married to white women, out of 19 million.

    • Tom

      Wow…. a man is gay and you bemoan the fact that your vagina will go unexplored and your ring finger will go unadorned. This is the epitome of selfishness. You didn’t “lose one to the other team.” A man who is homosexual just is homosexual, just like a heterosexual is just heterosexual. It is nature. There isn’t some conspiracy to deprive black women of marriage to a black man by the gay community.

      Grow up, stop being so fucking selfish and realize that the world sucks for all of us. BTW, you have more options in men than I do because there are more hetero men than gay men. Just though you oughta know…