A Coming Out Party At The New York Times

Monday’s New York Times featured not one, but two, public figures revealing that they’re gay.

Page One exclusive:

Going Public, N.B.A. Figure Sheds Shadow Life

The piece detailed the long road that led to the revelation by Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts that he is gay:

[I]n interviews with The New York Times, Mr. Welts explained that he wants to pierce the silence that envelops the subject of homosexuality in men’s team sports. He wants to be a mentor to gay people who harbor doubts about a sports career, whether on the court or in the front office. Most of all, he wants to feel whole, authentic.

The Times report revolves around conversations Welts had with former Seattle Supersonics boss Bill Russell, current Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash, and N.B.A. commissioner and longtime friend David Stern.

From the Times piece:

Mr. Stern did not find the discussion with Mr. Welts awkward or even surprising; he had long known that his friend was gay, but never felt that he had license to broach the subject. Whatever I can do to help, the affably gruff commissioner said. He sensed the decades of anguish that had led the very private Mr. Welts to go public.

After what needed to be said had been said, the two men headed for the door. And for the first time in their 30-year friendship, they hugged.

The very next day, the gifted Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant, one of the faces of the N.B.A., responded to a technical foul by calling the referee a “faggot.”

That’s the N.B.A. – “a business where manhood is often defined by on-court toughness and off-court conquest.”

Cut to – the Times story in the Business section headlined:

Gay CNN Anchor Sees Risk in Book

Don Lemon, the weekend anchor for CNN, has also just come out, acknowledging that he’s gay in his memoir, Transparent.

Lemon mirrors Welts in the cultural barriers he had to overcome . . .

“It’s quite different for an African-American male,” he said. “It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.”

. . . and in the yearning to “feel whole, authentic:”

“I abhor hypocrisy. I think if you’re going to be in the business of news, and telling people the truth, of trying to shed light in dark places, then you’ve got to be honest.

Good for them both.

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