"Do I want to be 'the gay anchor'?" CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon asked a reporter rhetorically. "Why the hell not?"
Lemon—a 45-year-old African-American Baton Rouge, La., native—revealed publicly for the first time today that he's gay in an interview with National Public Radio.
In the interview, pegged to the release of his memoir, Transparent, later this spring, Lemon said he wants viewers to continue to accept him as a news anchor. But he's frustrated by the lack of openness about sexual orientation in television news and worried about how his pronouncement will be received.
"We live and die by people watching us," Lemon told NPR. "If I give people another reason not to watch me, that is a concern for me and that's a concern for whoever I am working for."
Despite ever-increasing gender and ethnic diversity among news anchors, only two openly gay people hold prominent on-air roles in network or cable news at the national level: opinion host Rachel Maddow and daytime anchor Thomas Roberts, both at MSNBC.