Hosting openly-gay CNN anchor Don Lemon on her Monday night show, HLN's Joy Behar lamented that Lemon will have to interview GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum "who seems like a big homophobe."
The liberal host advised Lemon that "you're going to have people sit there with you like Rick Santorum who seems like a big homophobe, and others because they're running for president or whatever, and will talk about gay marriage, et cetera. How do you feel that you'll be able to handle that easily?"
(Video below the break.)
Lemon, who on Sunday revealed via Twitter that he is gay, responded that he will continue to report objectively on the issue, even though NewsBusters has reported his ongoing pro-gay bias. "I don't think just because I'm gay that it makes, it takes my brain away...or it makes me not be objective," he responded to Behar.
Both Behar and Lemon lashed out at forces in society which still do not accept homosexual behavior. "People have to get with the program," Behar demanded.
Lemon, meanwhile, rebuked the African-American community for not being more accepting of the gay-rights cause. "In black culture the worst thing you can be really is a gay man," Lemon explained. "So you're afraid that black women won't accept you, your family, your church."
Lemon added that gay men are considered weak in black culture. "I'm not weak at all...the black community especially needs to get over that," Lemon insisted.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on May 16 at 10:16 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
BEHAR: And so you`re going to have people sit there with you like Rick Santorum, who seems like a big homophobe, and others, because they're running for president or whatever. And we'll talk about gay marriage, et cetera. How do you feel that you'll be able to handle that easily?
LEMON: Well, I can talk about President Obama and be objective and I'm a black man. I can talk about having a mortgage and having your house not being worth what it was three, four years ago and -- and be a journalist.
LEMON: I don't think -- I don't think just because I'm gay that it makes, it takes my brain away.
LEMON: Or it makes me not be objective. I've been doing this job for a long time. And I've been objective and I think I've been fair. And I'm human. And if I make a mistake and I go too far in something, then I'll just apologize and I'll move on. People who are heterosexual do that.
BEHAR: Tell me about the down low. I must hear about the down low.
LEMON: You know, I have to tell you -- I don't really know about the down low because I haven't played that game. I know of it.
BEHAR: What is the game. Explain it to me.
LEMON: No it's because -- it's because in black culture the worst thing you can be really is a gay man, right? A gay black man -- that's the worst thing you can be. So you're afraid that black women won't accept you, your family, your church --
BEHAR: Yes, yes.
LEMON: -- people -- you know, every other gay person who's not black has to deal with the other things. But you have that -- that whole thing and the church especially. You have to deal with that. And that's very important as a black person. That's your base.
BEHAR: Yes, yes.
LEMON: Those are your people. Your Italian people, those are your peeps, right? And so --
BEHAR: A lot of cultures though, are like that. Not just the black community.
LEMON: Well, it`s even -- I'm here to tell you -- in the black community, it's worse.
BEHAR: It's worse.
LEMON: And hopefully it's getting better. Hopefully people like me will make it better. But I think it's sort of the vestiges of discrimination and slavery and thinking that if you're gay, that you're effeminate. Or that you're not a man.
BEHAR: You're weaker. Weaker.
LEMON: Or weaker. Right? And nothing at all. I don't want to be a woman. I'm not effeminate. I'm not weak at all. Certainly ask anyone who works with me or who knows me or who used to date with me.
BEHAR: Oh baby.
LEMON: -- who used to date me. So I'm not weak at all and so I just think that's -- that's part of it, and that the black community especially needs to get over that. And I can't speak for other communities because I'm not that.
BEHAR: Yes, of course, I understand.
BEHAR: That's interesting. And the down low -- is the down low really where you're really posing as a hetero in your personal life? That would -- but then you really go on the side and get your needs --
LEMON: It's -- it's a double life. It's a double life where you --
BEHAR: So you don't feel you were ever in that?
BEHAR: No, no, no.
LEMON: No, no, no. And let me tell you that just doesn't happen in the black community. It's more prevalent in the black community -
BEHAR: Yes. Oh yes. Right.
LEMON: But it happens in all cultures and all races and even different religions from different countries.
BEHAR: I like how you said God made you this way.
LEMON: God- I was born gay just as I was born black.
BEHAR: Exactly, exactly it's not a choice. People have to get with the program.
LEMON: If it was a choice, then I would have decided when I was a kid or when I prayed all those years that I would change. If it was a choice, something would have happened, I would have changed. It's not a choice.
BEHAR: Do you think that if people would just get that, that it's not a choice, that this is the way people are born – that the black community and other communities that eschew this type of lifestyle would change their minds?
LEMON: I think it would be great if people would get that. Right?
LEMON: But I think I would just be happy with allowing people to live their lives. And to do as whatever you think the higher power says, whatever you think, it's God or Yahweh, or whoever you think it is, live and let live, and not judge. I would just be happy with that. If we lived, if we really abided by what our constitution says and what this country was built on that everyone has the right to be who they are.
BEHAR: That's true. But people do stand in your way.