Don Lemon: Yes, the Black Community Is Homophobic

Read the CNN anchor's frank discussion of the reasons he didn't come out earlier, what he'd say to kids struggling with their sexuality and more.


There was no turning back because it wasn’t just about me. I’m not going to make any money off of a damn book and I’m certainly taking a big risk because I don’t know if people are going to watch me, if they have some preconceived notion about what gay people are like, especially in the black community so it’s not about me pushing a product.

Do you consider the black community homophobic?

Yes! I think there is a segment of the black community — a big segment of the black community — that are homophobic and it has a lot to do with religion. The church has been the backbone for so long through slavery and all of those things. You had to pray your way out of slavery. People think you can pray your way out of issues or problems and some believe being gay is one of them. In black culture, and similar in Latino and other minority cultures, it’s the worst thing you can do as a man. In both cultures you have to be a man and they equate being gay with not being a man.

What would you to say to a kid who is struggling and thinks “I wish I could do what Don did, but my family … ” or “I wish I could do what Don did but my church … “

Honestly, call me. Tweet me. Get in touch with me. Tell somebody. If anyone is where they feel they are going to harm themselves and on the verge of doing something desperate, you have to stay strong and stay alive.

… I just want every gay person who struggles with coming out to feel the way that I do today. I wish everyone could feel this feeling and then no one would struggle with this because the truth is the truth is the truth. And if someone loves you then they’re going to love you no matter who you are.

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