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Why it shouldn’t matter so much that Robin Roberts sort of came out, but it actually does

Photo courtesy of Robin Roberts’ Facebook page

This afternoon, as many Americans mulled over the nearing end of another holiday season, or perhaps the beginning of a new year and new opportunities, Good Morning America news anchor Robin Roberts subtly acknowledged her “long time girlfriend Amber” in a Facebook post of gratitude.

Roberts, who has been quite public about her health struggles with breast cancer and MDS in the past few years, has been private about her romantic life… until this afternoon.

In her Facebook post, Roberts said,

…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.

I am grateful for the many prayers and well wishes for my recovery. I return every one of them to you 100 fold.

On this last Sunday of 2013 I encourage you to reflect on what you are grateful for too…

Roberts has not actually “come out,” but rather said she has a long time girlfriend named Amber.

This hasn’t really mattered to the media, who has immediately pinpointed Roberts as having “come out,” “gay,” and “lesbian.” Heck, I’ll even admit that I’ve referred to her as my favorite closet lesbian.

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What actually is so significant about Robin Roberts’ “coming out moment” isn’t that it’s a long time coming, or that she’s a lead, woman of color anchor on one of the top morning news programs in the country. What’s significant is that Robert’s casual mentioning of her long time girlfriend isn’t that significant at all. It’s matter of fact, to the point, and barely mentioned.

For those who have grown up watching Robin Roberts on GMA, this moment is important because it’s even more of a source of inspiration from Roberts.

I can remember the first time I mentioned I was in a relationship with a woman on social media. It was scary, sweat-inducing, and took a lot of strength for me to gather the courage to so publicly acknowledge something that I was accepting of.

By mentioning her long time girlfriend and giving her a name, not only is Roberts showing even more courage and strength, but she’s proving something else: that it’s okay to be religious and love someone of the same sex.

For years, Roberts has publicly praised her faith and belief in God.

As someone who has been an out lesbian for quite some time, lately I’ve been struggling to make sense of the collision of my religious beliefs with my sexuality. Despite being outed at church by my Grandma, and even though I took V to church on Christmas Eve and my Pastor had nothing but congratulations to wish us, I still struggle with what society tells me about religion and homosexuality. Having a strong, religious woman like Robin Roberts publicly acknowledge her relationship with a woman gives me faith in my faith. It reminds me that my God is a God that loves and accepts me.

So, Robin, on this last Sunday evening of 2013, I am grateful for you. You give me the faith to have faith in myself and my religion.