By Contributor on January 09, 2014

By Elizabeth Ann Thompson

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 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 freelance writer in Oakland, Calif. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

Copyright Elizabeth Ann Thompson.

Photo: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com.

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A plea to United States citizens to work for peace

An Indian journalist globally renowned as an advocate for the poor, Palagummi Sainath detailed the detrimental...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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