Don Lemon on Life After Coming Out

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(AOL Black Voices) — In the two-plus weeks since Don Lemon announced he is gay in tandem with the release of his new memoir, ‘Transparent,’ the CNN anchor has received both kudos and criticism.  The praise is geared toward the courage it took to openly embrace his homosexuality as a public figure. The criticism lies mainly with the language Lemon used in his announcement. Lemon told the ‘New York Times’, where the news of his announcement first broke: “It’s quite different for an African-American male…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.” Lemon also mentioned black women specifically, expressing his concern “that black women will say the same things [about me being gay] as they do about how black men should be dating black women.”  We spoke to Lemon recently about those comments and his perspective on homosexuality in the black community, how life has changed since becoming an openly gay public figure and the women who still have a crush on him.
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.

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