Anyone who has ever struggled to publicly acknowledge their sexuality chooses to reveal and own it in different ways, all of which are respectable, honorable, and brave. But between answering to the media, your fans, and your critics, there’s a level of scrutiny for celebrities who grapple with coming out in the public forum, which makes their personal decisions to publicly acknowledge their sexuality that much more complex.
On Sunday, Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts posted a touching letter to her public Facebook page, in which she gives thanks to those who supported her during her battle against myleodysplastic syndrome this year. “I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together,” Roberts writes.
Roberts joins several high-profile figures who have publicly acknowledged their sexuality in the past couple of years. An Entertainment Weekly cover last June, which reported on the new, casual way gay celebrities are choosing to come out, prompted CNN’s Anderson Cooper to publicly state, “I’m gay.” A first love motivated Tom Daley to film a video for his fans in which he acknowledges his relationship with another man. For Roberts, coming out simply meant expressing gratitude to those who mean the most to her, including her girlfriend.
The point is, coming out in any capacity is the right way. And for Roberts, who has an enormous fanbase in middle America (including my grandmother, who is ride-or-die for Roberts), coming out was simply a matter of publicly recognizing her girlfriend, without feeling the need to explain homosexuality, preach, or teach — just acknowledging same love.
Various opinions on Roberts will begin to roll in for the next few weeks, and I predict she will be the most widely accepted gay celebrity since Ellen DeGeneres, making huge strides towards acceptance for all. Cheers to you, Robin. Thanks for keeping America smiling.