Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Don Lemon

In 2009, Don Lemon (b. 1966) made Ebony magazine’s list of 150 Most Influential African-Americans. When he came out in 2011, the CNN news anchor jested that he was “a double minority,” being both black and gay. Born in Louisiana, Lemon found his first on-air work in Chicago as a co-anchor at NBC5 News and as a correspondent for The Today Show and The NBC Nightly News. Joining CNN as a reporter six years ago, he covered the 2008 presidential election and the accusations of child molestation against Bishop Eddie Long,  during which Lemon revealed that he himself had been molested as a child. As well, he hosted a panel on transgender representations on The Joy Behar Show.

Currently a network correspondent and weekend anchor for CNN Newsroom, Lemon has won the Edward R. Murrow Award for covering the Washington DC sniper’s capture. As well he won an Emmy Award for a special report on the real estate market in Chicago.

Lemon stands out for his willingness to challenge public figures and his own industry. He tackled his own demons in his memoir, Transparent (2011), revealing the difficulties of being both black and gay. In the book he discussed racism in the black community, homophobia, and the sexual abuse that he suffered as a child. Lemon also publicly condemned the “pray the gay away” therapy.

Lemon has become an eager spokesperson for the LGBT community, speaking at events for the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD, and he has received honors from the Anti-Violence Project and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association

“I abhor hypocrisy,” Lemon stated in a recent interview. “I think if you’re going to be in the news business and telling people the truth..., then you’ve got to be honest. You’ve got to have the same rules for yourself as you do for everyone else… I think it would be great if everybody could be out. I think if I had seen more people like me who are out and proud, it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to say it.”

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