Today is a big day for gay people working in fields where coming out of the closet is not the norm. First, NBA executive Rick Welts comes out of the closet in a profile in the New York Times. Welts, the president of the Phoenix Suns, said he did so because living a secret life had been an immense and damaging burden for many years. (Though when he told the very supportive Suns point guard Steve Nash that he was gay, Nash’s first response was that he thought everyone already knew.) Welts is one of the highest-ranked professional sports executives to come out of the closet.
Meanwhile, CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon has also come out of the closet.
Lemon is coming out with a memoir called Transparent, in which he goes over personal subjects like his life as a gay man, growing up without a father, and the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Lemon told NPR this morning that he’s been in a relationship for four years, and that he’s nervous about the repercussions his admission will have on his career. (MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts are the only newscasters of a similar stature who have discussed being gay on the air.) “I’m scared,” he told the Times. “[But] I abhor hypocrisy. I think if you’re going to be in the business of news, and telling people the truth, of trying to shed light in dark places, then you’ve got to be honest. You’ve got to have the same rules for yourself as you do for everyone else.”