Do people really need to do it anymore? The answer is yes.
I know plenty of people who live double lives. They are open with some friends, not all; closeted to their families and sometimes even their co-workers. They’re afraid of being judged.
Afraid of hurting someone they love, very often a parent or a grandparent just for simply sharing with them a simple fact about who they are.
Imagine being afraid to tell the people you love most in the world about someone you have a crush on, someone you’re dating, someone you’re planning to marry.
Imagine the effort it would take to keep all of that a secret.
And not only that: keep track of the people you’ve told and haven’t told, and then make sure those people, all of whom are in your life, are never in the same place at the same time.
It ain’t easy. I’ve been there.
Coming out is a very personal decision. One must do it in their own time and at their own pace; and while it was my personal choice to come out to family members, co-workers and friends in my 20’s. I didn’t come out publicly to everyone else until just a few years ago.
While I cannot speak for Robin Roberts nor any of my recently out, gay colleagues, I didn’t do it because I was afraid of losing my livelihood.
I was afraid that you the viewer would no longer watch me. I was afraid of people like Phil Robertson who claim to love everyone while simultaneously thinking that everyone’s love isn’t equal; the people who use religion and scripture to shield bigotry now towards gays and in the past towards women and African-Americans.
Like I hope it does for Robin, empowerment quickly replaced fear once I revealed my truth not just to some but to everyone.
And if people like Phil Robertson are deserving of keeping their platforms, and can even be celebrated. Then people like Don Lemon or Thomas Roberts or Rachel Maddow or Sam Champion or Jenna Wolf or Anderson Cooper or Robin Roberts are also deserving of their platforms and can be celebrated as well.
That’s why it’s still important to “come out” and say very simply…I’m gay.