Robin Roberts took a courageous step


Robin Roberts deserves our thanks.

As 2013 came to a close, the “Good Morning America” anchor came out quite simply and subtly by thanking her longtime girlfriend via a Facebook post for helping her through her most recent health crisis.

Roberts has been suffering from a life-threatening condition called myelodysplastic syndrome, for which she underwent a bone-marrow transplant.

She has publicly and courageously fought that disease, and now she is publicly and courageously fighting the disease of homophobia.

Roberts’ 10-year lesbian relationship was not a secret to family and close friends, but like many celebrities, she had not gone public with it.

She received an outpouring of support on social media for her announcement, most notably from first lady Michelle Obama, who said she was “so happy for you,” adding, “You continue to make us all proud.”

Roberts is a role model. There are few women of color in broadcast media, and even fewer open lesbians or gay men of any race.

Some folks think that coming out is not a big deal anymore. If that were the case, then Roberts and others would have been out earlier. But at least they’re coming out now. Last year marked the notable announcements from Olympic champion figure skater Brian Boitano and actress and singer Raven-Symone, who said she was happy she could finally get married.

Despite these breakthroughs and the advance of gay marriage across the country, homophobia still abounds.

It manifested itself in the “Duck Dynasty” controversy.

Actor Alec Baldwin displayed it in a crude comment to the paparazzi.

And former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, an outspoken advocate of gay marriage, recently alleged that he was fired for this and that an assistant coach told him, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, then nuke it until it glows.”

Such virulent bigotry cannot be tolerated. It’s what has kept so many people in the closet so long.

Robin Roberts defies it, and in doing so, she points the way forward to a freer, more inclusive, kinder and more equal America.

Elizabeth Ann Thompson is a writer for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine.

© 2014, Elizabeth Ann Thompson

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • Don’t let Jeb Bush’s moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party.

  • The vibrancy of today’s American literature

    Sales at American book stores rose a measly 1 percent in 2013, according to trade accounts. It remains unclear whether that sluggishness — sales of ebooks have also tapered off — truly represents a further chipping away of the importance of books in our culture.

  • Kansas, the KKK and hate without end

    The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like to imagine that the KKK belongs to a long-gone South and anti-Semitism to a distant 20th century. Sadly, this better reflects a naive faith in the nation’s history of religious tolerance than the realities experienced by many religious minorities. Although the KKK has evolved and its membership has dwindled, it remains part of an American legacy of religious intolerance.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category