A few weeks ago, CNN anchor Don Lemon released a book, Transparent and confirmed to the whole wide world he was gay. In his in-depth interview with New York Times, Lemon gives readers a candid look at his life and career. His brave admission welcomed many supporters and an increase in twitter followers. However, his coming out announcement also brought on some negatives opinions. AOL Black Voices writer, Jozen Cummings recently spoke with the author and journalist about his life now and then some… Check it out.
Jozen Cummings: How long did you know you were gay before you came out so publicly?
DL: I say in the book, I’ve always known I was gay. I think the exact quote in the book is, “Since I was knee high to a duck I’ve always known I was gay.” I had crushes on boys – it wasn’t in a sexual way, because kids aren’t that way, they don’t really know, they just know they have a crush on someone. I don’t remember the first person I came out to, but I didn’t come out to my mom until I was 30 years old.
JC: Did you ever get a sense others knew before you said anything?
DL: I didn’t assume people knew or didn’t know, but it’s not something I ran around talking about. My colleagues at work who were closest to me or who I happened to have some sort of personal relationship with outside of work – they knew and we discussed it.
JC: How has life changed for you since you came out?
DL: Well, personally, it’s been overwhelming. For a second there, it was like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on with my life?’ Professionally, I’m not quite sure because it’s only been a week and two days. You’ll have to ask me in a year or three years or five years or 10 years, what actually happens. In some odd way [it has] turned out the exact opposite of what I thought. I thought I was doing something people ultimately would think I shouldn’t be doing.
JC: In what ways did you think this was going to be a detriment?
DL: Anyone who has been in my position and who’s gay and who’s thought of coming out and either done it or not done it, has actually thought it was going to be detrimental to their career. That’s why they haven’t done it. Think about how many people you have out in broadcasting, in professional sports, in acting – people are worried about it. It’s how our culture has been sort of groomed. And I have to say this, because I’m talking to you, aren’t you a black journalist?