May 16, 2011 | by Kevin Naff
CNN anchor comes out (no, not Anderson)

CNN anchor Don Lemon revealed this weekend that he is gay in an interview with the New York Times. He’s using the news to plug a new book titled “Transparent,” which is dedicated to Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who committed suicide after dorm mates posted video of him involved in a sexual encounter with another man.

In coming out publicly, Lemon joins fellow gay anchors Thomas Roberts and Rachel Maddow; CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Fox News’ Shepard Smith remain closeted.

Here is Lemon’s coming out statement in full:

“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.”

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

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