May 22nd, 2011
01:00 AM ET
My Faith: How I learned to stop 'praying away the gay'
Editor's Note: Don Lemon is a CNN anchor and author of Transparent, a memoir .
By Don Lemon, CNN
"School day, time to get up, sleepy head. School day."
Although she's been gone since 1998, my grandmother's words ring in my head just about every morning of my life. That's how MaMe, as I called her, got me out of bed and off to my Catholic school when I was growing up and in her care.
But before I shuffled my way to the bathroom to begin my morning routine, I had to hit the floor on my knees to pray, just as I had the night before.
It was usually The Lord's Prayer ("Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...") followed by asking God to watch and guide me through my day until I returned to the safety of my home that evening.
But MaMe (pronounced MAH-me) didn't know that at a very early age her favorite grandson had begun to pray, silently, that God would change him from being different, from having crushes on boys, from being more curious about boys than girls.
By age four or five, I was too young to sexualize my infatuations but I knew that everyone else, including my family and friends, would think it was wrong.
Perhaps it was the conversations I overheard from adults around my hometown of Port Allen, Louisiana, who'd mimic gay people, calling them "funny" or "sissy" or "fagots."
Perhaps it was Sunday mornings at our Baptist church, where preachers taught that liking someone of the same sex was a direct and swift path to hell. And that if that person would just turn to the Lord and confess his sin, then God would change him back into the person He wanted him to be - a person who only had crushes on the opposite sex.
All of which meant that, from a very early age, I began to think I was dirty and that I was going to hell. Can you imagine what that feels like for a kid who was just learning to read and perform basic arithmetic? It was awful.
And talk about guilt - I was a Baptist attending Catholic school!
I prayed the silent prayer for God to change me every chance I got until I started attending college in New York. That's when common sense began to take hold and I realized that no amount of prayer would change me into something that wasn't natural to me.
With my religious upbringing, I'd had the opportunity to study religious doctrine. But I learned from different perspectives, from Catholic Mass on Fridays to Baptist services on Sundays to vacation Bible school in the summer to Bible study with a Jehovah's Witness as a teenager.
As I got older I began to realize that all these people and institutions interpreted the Bible somewhat differently. I had a sort of epiphany: the Bible was about the lessons you learned, not about the events or words.
When I became old enough, intelligent enough and logical enough to discern the difference between metaphor and reality, everything changed. I realized that Jonah living in the belly of a whale was a parable written in the same vein as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saying that he had "been to the mountaintop."
Neither Jonah nor King had actually been to those places. They were metaphors for lessons for those of us who cared to absorb them.
So many of us, especially in the black community and in churches, tend to think that religious teachings happened word for word as they were written in Scripture. I think that's naïve, even dangerous.
That type of thinking - or non-thinking - keeps many religious people enslaved to beliefs that they haven't truly stepped back from and examined.
That type of thinking causes people who are otherwise good to shun and ostracize young gay people.
It causes people to want to control and change people who aren't like them. And who wants to be like someone else?
Imagine if we had allowed Christian doctrines and teachings that supported slavery, segregation and the subjugation of women to pervade our society all the way up until the current moment. What kind of world would that be?
Instead, we got on our knees, just as I did as a little boy, and prayed that slavery, segregation and the subjugation of women would end. In the United States, at least, those prayers have largely been realized.
I'm no longer the member of any church but I do believe in a higher power.
It's time for us, especially black people, to stop trying to pray the gay away and to get on our knees and start praying that the discrimination of gay people ends.
What we're doing to our young gay people now is child abuse. It's plain old bigotry and hatred. And if African-Americans don't know what that feels like in America, I don't know who does.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Don Lemon.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Its amazing how we pretend we live in a democracy society, but when you look at how we openly treat and discriminate against the gay's, you began to realize that our society is nothing more of a dictatorship...
As many of the posts on here demonstrate facts have no relevance to "true belivers" As to those who believe no one is born gay, you have no idea what you are talking about. Don Lemon has a lot of courage to tell the world his story. Why do gay people come out and write books? To educate the ignorant and ease the way for the many gays who live in fear of the kind of hate and stupiidity spewed here.
Wrong! Gays write books, TV shows, and movies to try to legitimze detestible behavior. Our consciousness is there for a reason.
NPA: I think you mean "conscience" – maybe before you attempt to make an argument you should understand the terms you are using. And if my conscience says being gay is great, your argument falls apart. There is no mention in ethical philosophy that being gay is a bad thing, so you can take your "detestable behavior" and shove it.
"Our consciousness is there for a reason."
Yes, and it should bother you that you are trashing gays when there are FAR FAR more Christians who commit adultery according to the Bible by divorcing and remarrying. Pick and choose what sins you want to make an issue out of and ignor those that hit close to home.
Maybe a case can be made, as Jesus implied, that those who find the biggest problem with this 'mite' and the ones with the biggest 'beams' in their own eyes. Get your own lives in order before you go picking up rocks, people, and even then consider if Jesus himself ever said anything on this topic.
FOLKS – IF YOU HAVE THE URGE TO STEAL, KILL HUMAN BEINGS, BE GAY/LESBIAN, EAT POOP, DRINK URINE – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SEEK HELP. THEY ARE ALL MENTAL PROBLEMS! ! !. CHRISTIANS REGARD THESE AS DEMON POSSESSION AND FOR US, ONLY GOD CAN SAVE THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST WHO IS MANIFESTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH ! ! ! BE TRUTHFUL TO YOURSELF AND RESIST THE DEVIL ! ! ! FOR GAYS, LEAVE YOUR ANUS FOR FECAL ELIMINATION ALONE. FOR LESBIANS DO NOT STRAP FAKE/PLASTIC PENISES.CAN'T YOU SEE THESE FAKE PRACTICES ARE SERIOUS, DISGUSTING PERVERSIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the beginning man created the gods
What I think of organized religion. I hope you gleam a small bit of useful information as I have. What games religion is playing in America and the world today? We live in a rare time and country where we can choose for ourselves how much or little Religion we want in our lives, but the followers of most religions just don’t understand the word no! Not in my life not in my schools not in my government, NO! is the choice I have made for me and my family, the following reasons are part of the problem as I see it.
First: religion is in no way real. The word religion or god is nothing more than an expression or product of human fear and weaknesses or imagination in some cases. The Bible/Koran, a collection of ancient myths and stories borrowed from many different cultures over hundreds of centuries or longer. Sadly the followers of Christianity, Islam, and others want to make decisions for us all based on there interpretation of books that are in no way real. These groups are working hard and spending millions trying to influence our politicians to pass laws based on there interpretation of these books. Trying to convert the USA into a religious state. I hope to never see any religious icons on our flag, because then it would be a good time to leave.
Second: Religion no longer has a place in the real world. It divides us as a people to choose ignorance over logic, to forsake the future for a ruthless past. A Wall of Separation is supposed to protect us from all religious infringement upon our school’s teachings of science to find real truth and knowledge. Not to pass out fairytales to our children of some aged dogma from an era long dead, our children deserve better.
Many of these groups place supernatural abilities on some of its members, born of a virgin or walk on water or cure the blind sick or to fly. Throughout history you will find many who have claimed the same feats, again they are all wrong. No interpretation no matter how subtle can change the fact these are nothing but stories meant to entertain or teach something to the people of that era nothing more.
Religion, as an idea has been with us before recorded history from early man’s worshiping of nature to Charlemagne’s murder of the innocent in the name of Christianity, to jets crashing into towers in the name of Islam. Coerced observance is the main method almost all these religions use. Worship me or you will be tortured for all eternity or murdered out right. Fear mongering, or coercion is tyranny! Remember the Dark Age’s religions rule in that dark, distant past didn’t serve our ancestors well it certainly won’t serve us any better today! These are the labels I proudly wear heretic, infidel, atheist, man of science, freethinker.
Third: We put our trust in our elected officials to maintain the wall of separation, to prevent religion’s ever reaching grasp from tainting the consideration of new laws, as well as research designed to help many! This country was not founded on the rule of any ones religion, but more the lack of religious influence in the governing of this country. But time and again you hear religious overtones spouting out of our leaders, The wall is crumbling. The time for the burning of witches, belief in a flat earth, the murdering of doctors, and crimes against women and children or religions many other immoral and vile acts committed against humanity as a whole can no longer and should no longer be tolerated no matter what religious book or god demands it.
Anyone of good conscience should agree with what I have said and ban together, so we can bring this country the very world we live on into the 21st century free of these groups hold on our minds and revel in all the promise this century has to offer so our children's children's children will look back in pride an see we did what we did for them and there posterity. This is after all a very small world and a grate leaping point into the vast unknown. I so hope more minds are opened and see beyond the centuries of engrained dogma. I just hope it`s not layed to waste by then.
What a twisted individual you are.....Belief in a evil god makes a evil person....AND just for the record most people do not view Christians as SANE by any means. Your post is PROOF of your mental instability. JUST ANOTHER RELIGIOUS NUT JOB.
A FEW TO ADD TO YOUR LIST: CHRISTIANS, JEWS, BUDISTS, MUSLIMS, TEA PARTIES, AND OTHER ANGRY MEN
I bet you enjoy watching these practices, that you describe with such detail, behind your computer screen as you touch your self.
What a powerful sermon you wrote!
Thank you for sharing your soul!
Powerful sermon? I dont think so. This should be more of a prayer in the closet confession to God Almighty and asking for some serious help. Dont compare this "mating" call to a sermon. No comparison. There is nothing holy about it, or anything complimentary towards God. It is defiances in the eyes of God. It is seeking mans attention and approval, which is contrary to Gods teaching. It is wanting to be a GOD himself, as well as other sinister reasons. Gay is NOT OK. If you want to reverse whats in the bible just for you, then it all should be reversed, making what God calls a sin, not one for you. (How does that sound). If you agree with that, then you need to read the 10 commandments and reverse them. Otherwise, what is in the bible is Good, and what you do is oh so bad....and I know it and you know it, even if you never admit it. And you knew it when you made the CHOICE !!!!
Facts: Gay is natural. Religion IS NOT.
If gay is 'natural', then so is bestiality. Some people are into that and claim to have been born that way, too. I bet you'd disagree with THAT, but it's all the same rhetoric.
Homicidial tendencies are considered NORMAL by the murderers. Maybe they cant help it. Maybe they were born that way. Geesh, what about the pedophiles, born that way?!?!? Sure, maybe if you tell the world long enough, even YOU might start to believe it.
No, I don't disagree. These are natural human behaivors. Lonly isolated men/women (often people caring of animals) did that for centuries. Is the unatural rules, like some morals and religions, who make it wrong. Mostly, I don't have a problem with a shepperd that gets crazy on a sheep.
The interview shocked me! Being Black isn't a choice?
niether is being gay!
STOP SAYING THAT BEING GAY IS SOMETHING YOUR BORN WITH AND RALIZE THAT ITS A CHOICE AND FOR THAT YOU WILL PAY THE CONSEQUENCES FOR IT!! STOP BLAMING OTHER PEOPLE!!!BLACK OR NOT!!!
EITHER IS BEING MEXICAN BUT IM NOT COMPLAINING AND YOU SHOULDNT EITHER!!!!!!!!!!111
Correct – being black is not a choice. Being male or female is not a choice. Being a twin is not a choice. Being born with a handicapped is not a choice. Everything else – IS!!!
So, if it's a choice, I guess there was a time when you were attracted to males and females equally and then chose to have relations only with the opposite gender?
Look, i am tired of you bashing the black community. It is in every community. be careful of what you say. dont just yell out rubbish.
Notice the decision he says he made......."When I became old enough, intelligent enough and logical enough to discern the difference between metaphor and reality, everything changed." That is a choice, because he can discern!
There you go! Even Don admits to this fact. Why is everyone screaming at US?! People are so ignorant...especially of the issues they 'stand for'. Lol.
if being gay is a choice, (which it is NOT), I have to ask you, when did YOU choose to be straight?
A choice between what, accepting who he is and suicide?
@Brain: I chose to be straight, when I popped my first chubby for a cute girl. Duh. Are we REALLY having this conversation?
@Dante: Way to blow that out of proportion. You're such a drama 'queen'.
His choice is not to be gay or not but how to deal with it you nit wit!!! you should choose to keep your comments to yourself since you clearly aren't capable to participating in a grown up conversation!
Perhaps someday you'll be old enough to understand context.
The choice he made had nothing to do with being gay or not. The choice came in when he rejected the tenets of organized religion, once he was old and wise enough to recognize them as total B.S.
people that say we choose to be gay imply that we must then at some point choose to be straight. I'm straight with no gay feelings-didn't choose it-but now makes me wonder about all my straight friends that are emphatic that gays have a choice.Are they all harboring gay feelings that they "choose" not to act upon?? Hmmmm People just need to come to terms with the fact we're all born different.
A gay person can choose to pretend to be straight, but they can't choose not to be gay. I'm sure that honest heterose-xuals can identify se-xual proclivities they have within their heterose-xuality that may be less favored than others or even frowned on that they by no means "chose" to have. At some point in adolescence or, more likely, even before, boom, they were there full blown.
Being gay is NOT a choice. You are born that way. End of story.
Bottom line: Do you remember the first dirty diaper you made? How about the first bath you ever got, or the first time you breastfed? Probably not. People swear they're BORN gay, but nobody is able to remember those first few years. There is no possible way that you would KNOW you were gay, from the moment of birth. A little common sense goes a long ways. Try it sometime. Roughly age 4 is when we start developing our own personalities, likes, and dislikes. This is a proven FACT. If you want to gripe at me any further, why don't you work on debunking the field of science first? I'm stating written fact, so don't blow up on me. If you have time to vent, then you have time to educate yourself. End of discussion.
Derrique: What a useless post. If someone is born gay, gay from genetics, gay from the womb, or is magically gay cursed when they are 3 like you are implying (with no evidence I might add) then it doesn't matter. It is effectively all the same thing: not a choice. Arguing about exactly when gayness naturally occurs is silly.
Dante. Genetics dictated what did or did not pop out between their legs.Genetically male or female, Not their state of mind Not their emotional confusion!
JT: Someone here isn't a biologist, and I think it might be yoooouuuu. Development in the fetus can play a huge role. There are lots of things that can happen in the womb that are not based on genetics. I can't believe I even need to tell someone this.
@Dante: Look, you have a brain. Use it. I gave you all the proof you need. Google these key words: 'BABY'. 'BRAIN'. 'PHYSIOLOGY'. The problem is, YOU don't have any proof, and you're frustrated. That's fine. But instead of pouting about it, why don't you do some research of your own? If you've got nothing better to offer than complaints, then we're done here.
Derrique: I realize that you are frustrated because you are impotent and your wife left you... see I can make up things about your current state of being too. It is called an Ad Hominem and is used by poor debaters. I am a biologist and I know that development in the womb can have a strong effect on a child's physical and mental capabilities. In fact, this is common knowledge. I'm amazed you don't realize this. Do you think fetal alcohol syndrome is related to genetics too? Why do you think some women watch what they eat so carefully when they are pregnant? In fact, if you google the words "effect baby brain in womb" you would see how dumb you are.
I estimater 5-10%. The rest are preditors thinking they are "earning".
Nancy, the End of the story is in Revelations, my dear, NOT when YOU say it is over! I will stay up for the prime time news, thank you very much.
Derrique: the brain is not some tabula rasa – each human is not born with identical brains. Emotional states certainly ARE heritable, as many studies showing the strong heritability of depression demonstrate – not to mention schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. And I would point out that these mental disorders, though strongly genetic, usually do not appear until adolescence. There are many genetic disorders that do not appear until one is in one's 40s. I am not suggesting gayness is a mental disorder, but just pointing out that neurodevelopment cannot be reduced to a product of environment, as you suggest, nor does genetic dictation mean that the behavior appears at birth. By the way, intelligence (again, brain) is also heritable. You are the one lacking research to back up your position.
The X and y Chromosomes determine s-ex, while se-xual orientation is determined by other factors. Studies indicate that orientation isn't a choice. One interesting statistic shows that the more older brothers a boy has, the greater the odds that he will be g-ay.
I have/have had many g-ay and les-bian friends. All of them pretty much tell the same story: they knew very young that they were 'different'. I have no reason to believe that any one of them actively chose their orientation, anymore than I chose to be heteros-exual.
Bigotry, however, is learned and so can be unlearned. Get to know people and simply accept them as they are. Look away from the ancient words of the bible and look at what is going on right now. You'll find that most people are pretty nice and generally interested in the same things: family, security and happiness.
The Republicans and their Tea Party lap dogs thrive on fear and ignorance.
Don. Can you explain why you feel the need to play this out as if its REALLY that important. Are you trying to bulldoze the idea of being gay is truly acceptable into hearts and minds of those who think its unacceptable. It seems you are looking for approval. It also seems as if you are not content with the idea that you are gay. Just go on with your career. i do not need the sob story or autobiography of what/who made you gay.
No hard feelings. No disrespect intended. You do a great job at CNN.
Sorry. I'm an Atheist, with no political affiliation. Glad you have everybody labeled in the same box. That says a lot about you...
Then why did you take the time to read and comment on the article. You CHOSE to read the article. You CHOSE to comment on the article. He DIDN'T CHOOSE to be gay.
@Mark: So Don has stated. He ALSO said, "When I became old enough, intelligent enough and logical enough to discern the difference between metaphor and reality, everything changed". Now, which is it? Sorry, but I don't just assume everything I read is fact. A lot of people do, and that's fine.
Poor Derrique, he cannot understand context at all. It must be tough living with such a reading disability.
Derrique, you are choosing to ignore the context. We all read the article and those of us who are not wearing bigot-colored glasses can understand that this man came to a realization about religion, not about orientation.
Ignoring the context.... sounds exactly like what the bible-thumpers have been doing for centuries.
What is it that gay people feel that an announcement has to be made? If you are gay, then just be gay. No coming out, no book on your lifestyle or your revelation that you discovered "who you really are" is necessary. Go about your life and be what you want to be. No one questioned you before, but now that you have drawn the spotlight on yourself, be prepared for the firestorm. No one cared about your what you did behind closed door, until you pointed an arrow pointing to it! MAH-ME would have taught you that!
Yes. It's always an over-played event. They need to just live their lives, instead of advertising it. They don't like scrutiny, but they put themselves out in front of the world, of their own free will. Makes sense.
"No one cared about your what you did behind closed door,"
Nonsense. You obviously haven't read the comments from most Christians here. If no one cared, this wouldn't be an issue. Get real.
It's all about self-promotion. The gays feel like they need to be in everybody's face in order to get "accepted". I think it will backfire on them.
They want to announce it because maybe they get tired of EVERYONE asking them why they aren't in a relationship and why they haven't been for as long as they've known them. As someone in the closet myself, it is miserable when your love life is the topic of conversation amongst your co-workers and family. The worst feeling is knowing your co-workers talk about you behind your back and they're saying you're gay.
I just want to come out so people leave me alone. Do you get that? You don't understand, obviously, because you're not int that situation. If you heard the same questions from everyone you meet or become friends with, or work with, and you have to come up with excuse after excuse and lie after lie, maybe you'd want to just come clean too.
the only reason gay people have a need to "announce" is because they have been forced to hide who they are for their own survival. if the society you live in expresses hatred and disgust for everyone who has blond hair, and you have blond hair, you are most likely going to dye it any other color in order to be accepted as a human being and protect yourself from rampant cruelty. when you finally feel safe enough to reveal who you really are, you would grow your hair back out blond, i.e., show your true colors. a weak analogy, i realize, but i'm just trying to give you a clue where you have just professed you don't have one
... and THIS is why the world continues to be as backwards as it is today. I feel sorry for the both of you. I am hetero, so I can never really understand what it is like. However, throughout my life I have had several gay and lesbian friends. I too was as ignorant as the both of you and many others today. It's good that you're asking questions, but at the same time, be prepared to listen to an answer and accept it. I won't explain it here for you, I hope a gay or lesbian person will do that for you.
Actually the point is so they can demonstrate to other other people, particularly kids like Don was himself as a child, that their are other gay people out there living normal lives. And perhaps even being gay role models. Maybe coming out is too "dramatic" in most cases when it's a media frenzy out of the blue, but there's nothing at all wrong with coming out in general.
Rhonda...Very weak analogy. I am a black man, I will always be a black man, I can not change from being a black man... My lifestyle choices(gay or straight) however are completely under my power to change.
I don't want to be in anyone's face. I want people to leave me alone. I want people to stop calling me gay behind my back because other than me not having a relationship, there is no reason anyone would think I'm gay. I'm not flamboyant or feminine in the least.
I want people to stop questioning me about why I'm not in a relationship and then think it's okay to tease me. And you know the first thing they say? "You haven't been in a relationship with a girl in how long? Oh I'm beginning to worry about you, Mark" Which shows what they really think of gay people anyway. "I'm beginning to worry." So they think being gay is bad. And that's when the gay rumors start to fly. IT'S A MISERABLE FEELING. That's my incentive for coming out.
I think you guys have this big misconception that when a gay person comes out it's some huge event. It's not. It's as simple as a conversation. At least, it has been on my part with the people I've told.
I just want the questions and having to lie to stop. I hate it.
"No one questioned you before"
That is bull crap. I'm questioned all the time about who I'm dating and why I'm not in a relationship and I'm sick of lying.
JT – it is not about *announcing* but it *is* about *education*, *enlightenment* and being able to set an example for thousands and thousands of young people out there who are hiding who they in fear of how people (like you) will judge them, think less of them, threaten them, hurt them and worse. The *announcement* is finally cementing the fact that we are who we are and there's a place for all of us. No one asked you to *announce* your opinion on the matter. Have a good look at yourself — Who are YOU helping....? Yeah, thought so...
Tex, O but he did when he put it on a CNN web page to be analyzed in the COMMENT section! Why do you have an opportunity to spout but not anyone else?
@Observer No one cares! Seriously. I clicked on the story to state just that. I'm trying to figure out who were these people who didn't know him and AC were gay. I don't get the need to publicize the fact. For him, it's all about hocking his book and dealing with his own insecurities. Okay, I've hid this from my parents, daughters and fiance as long as I can. I'm straight. I like men. Pray for me. Oh, and I'm black, too. I hope I can one day tell my family. Maybe I can write a book about it?
@Mark: I understand that it's got to be tough for you. It's a different lifestyle, and that I can agree with you on. However, I think you're letting your imagination get the better of you for most of your worrying. If you can't take people cracking a couple of playful jokes at you, and you completely blowing them out of proportion, creating a situation where there's none, then maybe you're not cut out for this stuff. 😉 Some people have their way with sheep. It's their choice, but it doesn't mean they were born that way. It's not even the same species. It's the same logic, though. All I'm saying is, your options are always open, whether you accept it or not. 😉
It's about the next generation. It's about letting g-ay and les-bian kids (statistically high-risk for suicide) know that there are others like them out there who have survived and thrived. It's about educating those who are still willing and/or able to learn that g-ays and les-bians are a contributing part of their community, and should be respected as such.
I'm sure most G&Ls would be delighted to not promote their orientation. Most just want to be free to be with the person they love without fear. Sadly discrimination still exists, and hiding away just encourages the hatred. Ignoring hom-os-exualty won't make it go away. However, when people get to know and understand their g-ay & les-bian neighbors, maybe the hatred will go away.
You know, it's funny. Don, you made a life decision. Good for you. Remember, this was YOUR decision. So before you whine about how hard things were for you and blame everybody ELSE for not accepting you, remember that this YOUR lifestyle choice. If gays and lesbians are looking for handouts, then that's fine. I'm cool with that. However, playing the blame game or sympathy card is not going to work with most people that can get along fine on their own. I don't have a problem with you, per say, but a lot of folks might. That's just the harsh reality of it. However, stooping to their level when you get angry about it will never win you the battle. If you're not looking to win, then what's the point of the sob story?
watch out your ignorance is showing. educate yourself. this is not a lifestyle choice. seriously, do some serious research. since you obviously know zero about what being gay even means, you have no business speaking of it at all. learn something new. the truth will set you free (from your grotesque ignorance)
Wow – it sounds like you are one of the people he felt like he had to pray to not be gay for. I wonder when people like you will start to realize it is NOT a choice.
Rhonda... He admits to the choice he made when he was 4 or 5 years old. Not an event at birth, but somewhere along the line a learned action.
@Rhonda: Watch out, your PMS is showing. I'm not being ignorant. I'm stating a logical fact. Do you have any proof, either? Show me the fruits of your 'serious research', lest you risk looking like a hypocrite for your lack of information, too. You don't have to be gay to know the physiology of baby's brain in the early stages of development. You must have dropped out of Biology 101 in high school. Do you have anything valid to add, or are you just griping, too?
@Erin: Not to sound like a jerk, but it's always the females who post with their emotions, rather than using their brains. Go whine somewhere else, if you don't have any of your own proof.
Don't just MAKE UP THINGS. He did NOT say it was a CHOICE at age 4. If you don't read what was written, then don't make ignorant comments.
i have educated myself. i don't have the time and energy to try to educate you. google it. read scientific studies. its that simple.
JT where did you read he made the choice to be gay at 4 or 5? He said he realized his gay attraction was not accepted by his community at 4 or 5. No wonder you're so anti-gay and think it's a choice. You have poor reading comprehension.
I was born Gay, I am Gay, I will always be Gay....But I am not going to change regions neither, in order to accommodate my needs, I admired Mr. Lemon, for been honest, but I don't see him hating Christians, on the contrary, correcting the way they act/preach. I see him as a good Christian, whatever denomination he takes. Church is made out of people, and people make mistakes, all the way up to the Pope. I don't have a problem with Jesus, the way I now him. I was born Catholic, I am Catholic and I will always be a Catholic!.
English is not my first language, my apologies if there are mistakes.
Nobody is born gay. Infants' brains aren't even fully developed by that time. If I had to guess, you didn't start to notice until you were Don's age. That's called DEVELOPMENT, which is completely different than being BORN with it.
"Nobody is born gay"
ZERO proof for that statement. He felt that way all his life, just like you felt hetero all your life. It would be just as easy to claim you were born gay and "developed" into a hetero.
Derrique – what are you talking about, this difference between being "born" a certain way and "developing" that way? I mean, ok, I wasn't born with hair on my chest either, but it eventually happened, and it certainly wasn't a conscious choice. How can you possibly conflate the two? Do so many of you really believe he CHOSE to be gay – at age 4?! I'm sorry, but that is preposterous.
I have all the proof I need. SCIENCE. Where's YOUR proof to debunk mine? Please stop wasting my time, if you don't have anything legit to add.
Derrique: Link to a scientific study backing up your claim? You can't? You don't even know where to find science papers on the web?
Here is a hint: genetics dictate things that are not apparent right when you are born! Sort of like how baldness has a genetic link but doesn't occur until later in life. I'm shocked that you are so ignorant about basic biology. I mean seriously, you are in middle school? I don't want to be mean to a child.
Perhaps one day we will all emerge from the darkness of ignorance and fear and come to love all others as brothers and sisters; and bigotry will end. Is it possible?
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Don for speaking out about this. While I am not gay myself and did not face the challenges that you experience, my ignorance and anti-gay stereotype comments learned from movies as a child, no doubt made it harder for my friends that were gay growing up. I have 3 young boys who will grow up in world that is much more open then the time you grew up in as a result of people like you exposing these truths. We should seek to be the best of who we are, not the best of who others want to impose on us. I hope that this experience for you affirms your belief in yourself even further and that you may continue to share the wisdom of your experience to better us all. And a thanks to CNN for giving you this opportunity to share. Please help them give voice to even more on this topic.
Beautifully said – you are proof positive that people can come out from under the cloud of ignorance and be better people.
I am not black or gay but your words resonate in my life as well. Lets not reflexively fear people who look/think/believe differently and instead look harder for the good we have in common.
Don, thank you for mentioning that you had gay tendencies when you were as young as four or five. I completely relate to that since I remember having the same infatuations towards male actors and some male friends in school. When I mention this to my friends nowadays (even gay friends) some of them don't believe it, but I remember it clear as day. I remember one day I came home and told my mother that a male friend of mine from first grade was "so cute" that I wanted her to meet him. I'm glad my mother was open minded enough back in the early eighties not to take me to a psychiatrist and instead asked me not to mention that again or tell anyone. I knew then that I had to keep these feelings to myself until I could safely disclose them later in life. I finally came out during my first year in college, and haven't looked back since. Nowadays I will not be in the closet for anyone, not even for a stranger who incorrectly asks about my "wife" when they see my wedding ring.
Your mother sounds like an amazing person. I have always told my children that I will love them NO MATTER WHAT. That means if they were born meant to love someone of the same gender, that is OK. I feel so badly for people whose parents ostracize them for being who they are. How can you call yourself a parent if you turn your child away for simply being themselves? Best of luck to you AND your partner. Wear that wedding ring proudly!!!
I love all of the holier-than-thou posts left by the intolerant Christians just before they run off to church, feeling smug dressed in their Sunday best, after castigating fellow human beings online who have never wronged them. Such is "Christianity" in America.
Yes, you do see and experience blindness coming from "religious" individuals. Not sure this is ever going to change … and that is indeed sad. But, where would life be today without your Mother Teresa’s, Dr. Martin Luther King and others?
To lump all “religious” individuals into one group and point a finger is painting with a rather broad brush don’t you think?
At the heart of Spirituality is a change of heart … sad to say for most individuals the message gets stuck between their ears, remains 18” or so away from where it is intended.
Prayer will always be good to a higher power for all of our blindness’s. Perhaps one day being gay will be seen as just being gay … whether your straight or gay won’t be as important as being a person … an individual known and loved by God.
You might think about voting Democrat if you ever want to see that day come. 😉
Mike, you're making way too much sense for some people. My guess is that even the heart of the matter still won't get to the heart of why so much hatred and animosity is thrown around. It seems to be something internal for that person and not just the theocracy behind the idea of choice.