Don Lemon: Yes, a segment of the black community is homophobic

Tue. May 17, 2011 1:34 PM by News Staff

cnn anchor don lemon

Atlanta, GA - CNN anchor Don Lemon, who recently came out as a gay man in his new book, answered an interviewer's question about whether the black community is homophobic with a resounding "yes!"

"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," Lemon told "The church has been the backbone for so long through slavery and all of those things."

The 45-year-old Lemon is talking about his sexual orientation in the new book, "Transparent."

He told the New York Times he was reluctant to come out and be known as "the gay anchor" but even more concerned about reaction among blacks.

"It's about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You're taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away."

He told the Times that more people in high-profile positions need to come out, so that kids like Rutgers student Tyler Clementi don't kill themselves. Lemon said his own life might have been different if he'd known more out gay men.

"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," Lemon said.

Lemon's career has taken him from WCAU-Philadelphia to WMAQ-Chicago and to WNYW-New York. 

He wrote the book after a publisher asked him for something "inspirational."