“When ‘Good Morning America’ co-anchor Robin Roberts took to her Facebook page to count her blessings, express gratitude for her recovery from a rare blood and bone marrow disease and thank her longtime girlfriend, Roberts didn’t just come out,” Patrick Kevin Day wrote Tuesday for the Los Angeles Times.
“As one of the most prominent personalities on TV, media watchers said, Roberts became an instant role model for young people who see few other openly gay people of color in the TV news business.
“In a year-end post that expressed thanks for her recovery from myelodysplastic syndrome, Roberts wrote Sunday: ‘I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.’
“Coming out publicly is ‘no longer a People magazine cover and a book deal,’ said Omar Sharif Jr., a GLAAD spokesman and grandson of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ star Omar Sharif. ‘But it is significant for LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender] people of color, who lack significant representation on TV.’ . . . “
“CNN anchor Don Lemon also noted the importance of Roberts’ announcement, even in an era when more celebrities freely acknowledge that they are gay.
” ‘I know plenty of people who still lead double lives,’ said Lemon, who is black and came out in his 2011 memoir. ‘It’s important that someone like Robin comes out because stars are unattainable. How many people can be a movie star? But you have so many different journalists and TV news anchors and reporters who are in your home every single day, and in a way, we’re more relatable. What we do is more attainable.”
The White House specifically sought out Roberts in May 2012 when President Obama wanted to declare his support for same-sex marriage.
Roberts was not available to Journal-isms then to discuss the personal significance of the president’s declaration, but when her interview with Obama was replayed on “Good Morning America,” Roberts said, “I’m getting chills again.“
First lady Michelle Obama tweeted on Monday, “I am so happy for you and Amber! You continue to make us all proud. -mo”