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Friday, May 20, 2011

CNN Anchor Don Lemon Outs Himself, Backs It Up with a Book

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM


Each week, Easy Target alerts you of potential advances or threats to gaykind from the forces of the news media, politics, and popular culture -- the front lines of the culture wars -- in San Francisco and beyond. This week, Don Lemon comes out. The sports world experiences an openly gay whirlwind. S.F. circumcision ban is up for vote. A transgender editor shares her story. Equality California's new executive director is not a white guy. Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon are anything but ambiguous on SNL. And Newt Gingrich gets glittered.

Last week, PR guru Howard Bragman teased us that a TV personality was getting ready to come out, and he was right. No, Anderson Cooper and Ryan Seacrest will have to wait a hot minute for their moment in the spotlight. It was CNN anchor Don Lemon who tweeted this week that he is gay. Needing more than 140 characters to explain himself, Lemon has a new book out, Transparent. He is dating CNN producer Ben Tinker, and you know what they say: The gay couple who works together has probably fooled around in Wolf Blitzer's dressing room. Safe.

The coming-out ball has been rolling for a couple of months in the sports world. Following the announcement that the president of the Phoenix Suns, Rick Weltz, is gay OutSports compiled a list of the 25 athletes, coaches, and suits who have come out just this year. "Any professional athlete who gets on TV or radio and says he never played with a gay guy is a stone-freakin' idiot. It bothers me when I hear these jocks get on TV and say, 'Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport,'" Charles Barkley told the Washington Post. "I'd rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can't play." Safe. editor Janet Mock opened up about being transgender in the new issue of Marie Claire. "Talking and writing about my experiences have helped me finally accept the past and celebrate the fact that I was once a big dreamer who happened to be born a boy named Charles," Mock tells the women's magazine. Safe.

San Francisco voters might make that cut/uncut question you keep getting on Manhunt irrelevant for a new generation of gay men. A ban on male circumcision is headed to the November ballot. Even though female circumcision in sub-Saharan countries is wildly frowned upon in the Western world, male circumcision is as acceptable as sliced peaches. Double standard? Risky.

Equality California announced its new executive director, Roland Palencia. The choice is seen as a move by the gay rights group to reach beyond the upper-middle-class white male demographic gay activists are often criticized for overrepresenting. EQCA is often noted for making strides not just in marriage equality but in health care and economic justice, where Human Rights Campaign has lagged behind. Accordingly, Palencia's $170,000-a-year salary might not be enough. Risky.

Before George Clooney's nippled Batman suit, before Hugh Jackman panting shirtless in X-Men, there was SNL's Ambiguously Gay Duo voiced by Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. The hilarious animated skit was brought to life last Saturday thanks to a "flesh ray" that turned the oh-so-naively-homoerotic duo (Ace and Gary) into real-life versions, embodied by Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon, complete with all the butt-bursting, leg-spreading, snake-stroking action. Where are those outtakes? Dangerous.

While on tour reconnecting faith, family, and freedom (what does that even mean?!) GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was showered with glitter as part of a prank to stop his antigay politics. And as any 19-year-old woman who has ever snuck into BLOW UP SF can tell you - glitter is a bitch to clean up. But pulling a prank in the hopes of it going viral as a way to create social change? At most, you'll just get the slogan ("Feel the Rainbow, Newt") on a BustedTee. Dangerous.

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