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May 21st, 2011
03:04 PM ET

Why Don Lemon Decided To Come Out

In his new book "Transparent," CNN's Don Lemon reveals to the world that he's gay. In a series of interviews this week, he spoke about what led him to take such a defining action in his life.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Ruth in Dallas

    Don, I admire your courage and your willingness to be so publicly authentically yourself. The more people who do this, the more likely it is that younger people will feel free to be who they are without dire consequences. Everyone of all races and sexual orientations should salute you.

    I thought you were an exceptionally fine news anchor before I saw your interview with Brooke Baldwin. Now I think your are an exceptionally fine news anchor and an exceptionally fine human being.

    May 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  2. JR

    go don. it took a lot of courage to do your coming out. u have been everywhere this last week. so i'm really watching ur newsroom today. what happened to the little chat u normally have with fredricka upon your saturday arrival? she didnt even mention your name at her closing today. Are you being shut out already? we are watching, CNN.

    May 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  3. Dean


    Thank you very much for courageously "coming out" despite the risks, especially since you are public figure. You have done a great public service and I hope you get lots of support from CNN and from everyone else. Thank you!


    May 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  4. PAM

    when we are born we are only male or female. according to the Bible God made two sexes. Christians do not dislike gays we love them. we are not born gay when we come out of the womb it is not a choice of male, female, or gay.

    May 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  5. Susan

    Hello Don, I am a 59 year old women with a family and I have to tell you I am very happy that you have come out. I know how hard a decision like this must have been for you. Good for you and just know that this lady in Toronto Canada is very happy , you made this statement and can now live as who you are, not what you should be in the eyes of many. All the very best to you. Please do not get upset about negative comments as these people have absolutely no idea what it is like to have to live your life as someone you are not. I hope CNN stands behind and supports you, or they will hear from me lol. All the best Don!!

    May 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  6. Susan

    Oh I just watched the clip before my email, God bless you Don and yes God loves gays and all gays go to heaven. That is the God I know . All loving and accepting.
    Keep strong and keep on being Don Lemmon. I look forward to reading your book.

    May 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  7. James Frees

    Dear Don, God Bless you. I'm 68 year old guy and you are brave, and true to your heart. I love CNN and my CNN family. You are good people Jim

    May 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  8. Beverley McIntosh

    Don, I think you are very brave, and I have always admired your
    work on CNN.

    I am struggling with a problem of my own, I am the mother of
    a daughter (my only child) and several years ago she informed in
    a very mature way that she is gay.

    We are from the West Indies where this is not openly accepted,
    and even after this time I'm having difficulty accepting the situation.

    I fall under the standard cliche' that I have many friends that are
    gay and get along just fine with them. But with my daughter, I"m
    just can't be comfortable with the situation. I'm happy that your
    Mom is more accepting. I'm trying my best. I don't tell many people.
    Good luck to you,

    May 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  9. Dr Michael Malin

    I want to express my high regard to Don Lemon for coming out and being so professioonal about it. It is men like Don who inspire the community both gay and straight. I am a gay professional in the medical profession and it someone like Don who has inspired me to come out at at 57.

    May 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  10. nancy

    Thank you Don for your courage in helping to break down barriers. Congratulations!
    From a 68 year old, white, straight woman

    May 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  11. Marge Jackson

    I think life is meant to be lived truthfully-Hopefully your honestly will help others. You deserve to be happy-may you always follow your bliss.

    May 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  12. Sharon Dennison

    Dear Don Lemon,

    It was brave and big hearted of you to reveal so much of yourself to the world. I appreciate your honesty and the example you set. I have always enjoyed watching your newscasts, thank you for the great work.

    May 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  13. Ms. Allen

    Don GOD bless you, keep being the BEST you are, enjoy your life, stay prayerful, BE positive and keep it moving!!!!!

    May 22, 2011 at 1:09 am |
  14. Doug

    Good for you Don... I am now 58, and like you for years I thought I could pray away the gay.. I finally became happy with who I am.. After 22 years of marriage to a woman that ended tragically, I am really happy with my partner today and have the best relationship in my life.. Facing who I am, what I like and not lying has been the biggest relief in my life..
    I stand up for myself and other gays, today I speak out against the ignorance about us.. I wish you luck, and I hope you are as lucky as I am, I wake up every day to the love of my life, my partner and my best friend.. Life just can not get any better than this ! Peace to you now and always..


    May 22, 2011 at 5:33 am |
  15. David

    I support and applaud Don Lemon's decision to come out. I will watch him even more than I already do. CNN should be proud to have someone with Don's character on their staff.

    May 22, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  16. Lori

    Coming out must have been a scary thing to do, it took a lot of courage.

    May 22, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  17. Humberto Netto

    I salute you Don
    for your honesty, transparency and guts to do this.
    You are a sample to be followed, a lot of young people will be helped because of your decision.
    Once again, I salute you for being who you are.
    And by the way I always liked your show and watched frequently, and will continue to do so.

    May 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  18. Paul Gilmore

    Please forward to Don Lemon, weekend news anchor.

    Dear Mr. Don Lemon,

    You have always been a pleasure to watch on the weekend, a genuine credit to your profession and now I watch with so much admiration for you as a person.

    Thank you for taking the risk of personal clarity in the public arena.

    And thank you for portraying a personable and professional role model to young and not so young, to straight and not so straight, to male and female, to all colors of humankind.

    May you be enriched and encouraged as the trailblazer you have become.

    Kind regards,

    Paul Gilmore

    May 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  19. michael Barrett

    hey Don just want to say how happy i am for you . i am still trying to be as bold as you to my self and my familys. bit thanks for being real. can't wait for your book.

    May 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  20. Lori

    I just wanted Don Lemon to know how much I appreciated his detailed coverage of the May 22nd tornado in Joplin Missouri. I grew up around that area and know people who live around there so it's been a comfort to get some details as to what has happened. No other cable channels are covering it and the coverage on The Weather Channel has been spotty at best, so Thank You very much, you are a wonderful Anchor.

    May 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  21. Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D.

    Congratulations, Don, for being true to yourself and letting everyone know who you are. As a psychotherapist and gay man, I'm very proud of you. I wanted you to know you have millions of folks with you in spirit (I'm sure you know that by now). You'll never be alone again. Hold your head high and continue to lead your life with pride and dignity. You're an inspiration for millions of young gay and lesbian youth as well as older folks who have been shamed into an emotional prison!

    May 23, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  22. Adam

    Way to go Don!!

    May 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  23. Florence

    Don you are one of my favorite broacasters. God has surely endowed you with HIs blesssings; you might not know that it is hard to get favor with men if you do not have favor with God. God loves you as you are; He created you in His own image. His desire is for you to honor Him in whatsoever you do (with your soul, spirit and body); fear Him but not men. Praises from men wll one day disappeared but God's love remains forever. No matter what people are telling you today would change tommorrow. I want to encourage you to read the following books of the BIBLE:
    Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:25; 1 Corinthians 6:9-21
    Don have a great day. I love you but Jesus loves you more.

    May 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  24. Georgine

    Don: Thank you for your courage and honesty. I ordered your book which arrived today and I'm anxiously looking forward to reading. If all gay people could only have your courage.
    Thank you again.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  25. Gloria Alumona


    When I first heard about you coming out, my first thought was "Dang, what a waste! We lost another one" After listening to your interview by Brooke, I have to say that I do admire your courage. The strength of character it took for you to come out the way you did, however, only underscores the loss to the sisterhood. Nonetheless, you have my respect for taking a stand and being true to yourself. I look forward to reading your book.

    Stay blessed...and much respect, my Brother.

    May 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  26. Pierre

    Way to go Don!
    It's sad that we live in a society where a person's sexuality is actually news but congratulations for having the courage to stand up for yourself.
    Hopefully, one day it won't be necessary for successful gays to out themselves so as to serve as role models for others....
    Hopefully, one day nobody will care what adults do in the privacy of their bedroom.

    May 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  27. Jack

    Don, I want to congratulate you on your honesty. I hope you find these scripture verses helpful. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, but most of all; John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 6:11.
    I wish you all the best.

    May 29, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  28. Frances

    Couldn't care less. Watched you before, will watch you again.

    May 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  29. Leo

    You did the right thing by coming out. I respect you for having the courage to be honest; an important element for any journalist. I am an older, straight, and Christian person who will probably not accept the concept of gay marriage before I die, but I do believe people should not have to hide their beliefs or preferences for the sake of a career. Societies from the Roman Empire to now have tried it and it hasn't worked yet. Continue to be an honest, objective journalist (and not an activist), and the audience will follow.

    May 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  30. Monique

    Good for you, Don. You are one of CNN's best, one of my favorites to watch.

    May 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  31. Harry

    Congratulations Don!

    You have opened the doors for others to come out. I am in my late forties but still struggling how I could be accepted by my family, friends, and members of the church if I will come to the open. Though I guess some of them have already the idea that I am not the "he" man they see outside. But I can I assure them I don't ever have the desire to wear women's outfit. I am just what I am and will stay as I am.

    Thanks again for being an inspiration to others.

    May 30, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  32. rennin1

    Don Lemon wrote a book documenting his experiences, so you would think that he has a pretty clear idea as to what he is talking about. However, in the TV interview he says:
    – the sexual abuse started when he was about 4 or 5 years old
    – the abuse lasted until about 3 or 4 years before his dad died
    – his dad died when he was 7
    – the abuse went on until his teen years
    – he was taken out of the purview of the abuser after his mom remarried after his real dad died and moved the family out of the neighborhood

    Based on the first three items above, the abuse at most lasted one year and must have both started and stopped when Don was 4 years old. But perhaps Don simply misspoke and meant to say that his dad died when Don was 17 years old. This would put the abuse into a multiyear context. Even so, how can it be that the abuse both lasted until 3 or 4 years before his dad died and that the abuse stopped only when Don's mom moved the family out of the neighborhood after she was widowed and had remarried?

    June 5, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  33. Wes McMillian

    Thanks for the honesty, Don, the world will be better off. I sincerely hope that CNN is being truly supportive and not just bending to ratings. I wish that others are now encouraged to live their lives more openly and with less stress. I'm sure Jason C. is very pleased. Thanks again.

    June 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  34. Frustrated

    I am frustrated by Don Lemon's attempt to ask sisters to get onboard with his lifesytle choices. He chose to spend a lifetime using his "beautiful black sisters" to hide his choices. Where is the beauty in that? As a Christian who has gays as close friends, I do not agree with homosexuality. This does not make me not Christ-like. I love people and hate sin. I believe in: He without sin should cast the first stone. I have no stones to cast but please don't categorize my non-acceptance of your choices as some form of bigotry or discrimination. It's not.

    Fair Oaks Ranch, TX

    June 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  35. Richard Rodrick

    As I've stated for decades now. Noone is born gay and at least Don Lemon had the guts to admit he was sexually abused. This type of abuse is what leads boys and girls to become gay/lesbian, period. That being said our society cannot allow the militant LGBTA to change the definition of marriage. It is against the laws of nature. 2 men and/or 2 women cannot procreate only one man and one man because its natural. Anything else is against the laws of nature, PERIOD. This marriage smokescreen is a way to try to obtain federal protection which would then allow them to go after any institution or individual who does not agree with their deviant lifestyle. Less we forget history, the great civilizations of the past (Roman, Babylonian, Greek, Persian, etc) destroyed themselves when they flushed their moral values down the toilet and started the same deviant attitudes with unatural affection towards each other. EXTINCT, DESTROYED. That's what we the opposition is trying to avoid. The destruction of our society by cowtowing to the militant LGBTA. Enough is enough. Please send donations to the Family Research Council, our friends fighting for our rights in Capital Hill. Thank you!!!!

    June 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  36. Annette

    I applaud your honesty and confidence. You are still one of the achieving young black men out there. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I have much respect and love for you and the intergrity that you have shown.
    You are one of the good guys Don!

    June 18, 2011 at 11:59 pm |

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