Why You Need To Come Out Of The Closet, Too
I almost didn’t hear it, between the Shuttle delay updates and Libyan rebel stories. CNN Anchor Don Lemon was being interviewed about his upcoming memoir Transparent. During the interview, Lemon informed viewers that he is gay.
It wasn’t long after Lemon’s story that I came across an article stating that Phoenix Suns President Rick Welts had also came out. The comments with the article were roughly divided between “why is this news,” “that took a lot of courage,” and “I don’t care about his sexuality.” When I looked up articles about Lemon, I saw the same commentary.
I’ve experienced friends, co-workers, and family members come out publicly, ready for ostracizing, ridicule, being fervently prayed over, even physically harmed. It didn’t take long to learn who their friends were, who tolerated them, and who could no longer stand them. Through coming out of the closet, they discovered their inner strength, as well as the courage of those who cared about them.
When someone in the public eye, whose existence represents the very image of an organization, announces his sexual orientation, it’s a bit different. The circle, the network of associations, reaches much, much further.
For someone who works at the level of Rick Welts, busy working days, nights and weekends mean that friendships often are found in the office environment. Don Lemon’s announcement of his sexuality meant not only possibly losing friends, but also may limit future working opportunities, in a media world filled with competition to look like the guy next door.
Don Lemon and Rick Welts did something more important than announcing their sexual orientation. They displayed a heroic quality, radiating courage outward to others, to those that live far more typical lives yet face making their own public choice. I applaud them both, but was it enough?Continued on the next page