Robin Roberts, the co-host of Good Morning America on ABC, thanked her longtime girlfriend Amber Laign in a Facebook post on Sunday, December 29:
At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude.
I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health.
I am grateful for my sister, Sally-Ann, for being my donor and giving me the gift of life.
I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.
And with that, Roberts came out. In addition to her professional merits, Roberts has been in the spotlight for her very public battles with breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome.
By most accounts, Roberts was out to family and friends for years, just not out publicly. Reactions in general seem mostly muted, except from reliably anti-gay commenters.
And speaking of gay, it seems that “gay” instead of “lesbian” was the headline word of choice:
‘GMA’ anchor Robin Roberts publicly acknowledges she’s gay (CNN)
Robin Roberts Comes Out as Gay (E!)
Robin Roberts: No Secret She Was Gay (TMZ)
Sure, the “Yep, I’m Gay” 1997 Time magazine cover of Ellen DeGeneres used the word “gay” instead of “lesbian” but that was then, as they say. Was the use of “gay” this time around just for headline brevity or as a catch-all phrase?
“Why Robin Roberts Coming Out as Gay Isn’t News — But Is Still Significant” by Brent Lang at The Wrap also uses “gay” in the headline, but gives some thoughtful analysis:
Robin Roberts coming out as a lesbian this weekend is not really news, but it’s still significant …
Coming out may be quotidian among celebrities, but discrimination against the LGBT community is alive, rampant and legally sanctioned. As Jack Mirkinson of The Huffington Post notes, the public relations fiasco surrounding A&E’s handling of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s anti-gay remarks, shows this form of bigotry is not only tolerated by broad swaths of the population. It’s embraced …
By coming out they are helping people like Phil Robertson recognize that they are on the wrong side of history — and that’s worth a few headlines.