(Editor's note: October is LGBT History Month, celebrated annually to recognize the notable achievements of LGBT people throughout time. Each day this month, Equality Forum will feature one LGBT icon who has made notable contributions to society and SDGLN will publish the story here in the Causes section.)
Don Lemon is a primetime national news anchor. He received an Edward R. Murrow award, one of the most prestigious honors for broadcast journalists.
Lemon, born March 1, 1966, was raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by a single mother. He attended Brooklyn College and earned a degree in broadcast journalism. While in college, he secured his first job as a news assistant at WNYW in New York City. After graduating, he worked as a reporter and weekend anchor at WCAU in Philadelphia. At KTVI in St. Louis, Lemon was an anchor and investigative reporter. He later anchored the news at WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lemon moved to network news as a correspondent for NBC’s “Today” and “NBC Nightly News.” He also was an anchor on weekend “Today” and on MSNBC. In 2003, he began co-anchoring the 5 p.m. newscast at WMAQ in Chicago. He received an Emmy Award for an investigative report on the Chicago real estate market.
In 2006, Lemon joined CNN. He anchors “CNN Newsroom” on primetime and serves as a correspondent for major news stories. He was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of the capture of the D.C. snipers. In 2009, Ebony magazine named him one of the 150 most influential African-Americans.
Lemon came out in an interview in The New York Times. In his autobiography, “Transparent” (2011), he discusses his sexual orientation. One of few openly gay national newscasters, Lemon was apprehensive about revealing the personal details of his life. “I’m talking about something that people might shun me for, ostracize me for,” he said. After the book’s release, he told PBS, “Now I’m free. No one can hold it against me. I am in charge of my own story.”
Lemon lives in Atlanta and teaches new media journalism.
“If I had seen more people like me who are out and proud, it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to say it.”