CNN news anchor Don Lemon has come out as gay in an interview with the New York Times and spoken about his fear of being rejected by the African-American community.
The 45 year old joined CNN in 2006 and is an award-winning reporter and news anchor on the prime-time weekend version of CNN Newsroom, based in Atlanta.
In 2009, Lemon was voted as one of the 150 most influential African-Americans by Ebony magazine.
“It’s quite different for an African-American male,” he told the New York Times. “[Being gay is] 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.
“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.”
In an official statement released on Monday, Lemon again spoke out about living in the closet.
“I, like most gay people, lived a life of fear. Fear that if some employers, co-workers, friends, neighbours and family members learned of my sexuality, I would be shunned, mocked and ostracised. It is a burden that millions of people carry with them every single day.
“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.”