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Why Robin Roberts belongs in my queer family

May 29, 2018

I always try to picture myself in the shoes of someone with a massive platform—the kind of platform I’d like to have—where they use their presence to inspire others. There’s an unspoken responsibility to be an example for others, but it is especially powerful when the examples we set stem from who we are authentically. I look at Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts as one of those people.

My appreciation for Robin actually grew after watching how much my mother—someone I adore—adores her. She uses words like “refreshing,” “talented,” and “class act” when speaking about Robin to literally anyone. I can honestly say that I agree wholeheartedly, and I can attest to all of these phrases. Here’s how:

Refreshing. Robin Roberts has successfully surpassed being just a “TV personality” and, might I add, with such ease. As one of the first faces America sees in the morning, she is a breath of fresh air. We welcome her into our homes continuously throughout the years as if she is a member of the family.

Like my mother, Roberts is a Black woman with a compelling story to share. Her announcement of her MDS diagnosis in 2012 shook many of us, and even with the uncertainty of many illnesses these days, hearing Robin Roberts say, with tear-filled eyes, “I’m going to beat this” brought a calmness and reassurance that was astonishing to feel. My mom, who also battles health issues, prayed for her as if she had known her. It was then that I realized how much of an impact Robin could really have on people.

Talented. For the time I had known of Robin Roberts, she always had a knack for telling stories, even if they were not her own. Her interview with the six mothers who have each lost their children to police violence was one of the most compelling. It was one of the few pieces of media coverage that allowed victims like Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and Michael Brown to be presented to the world as more than just Black stereotypes. Moments like these are what keep the conversation on why Black lives matter moving forward.

Roberts has interviewed so many of my favorite people, from Barack and Michelle Obama to Beyoncé. No matter who is on the other side of a conversation with Robin Roberts, you’re bound to be drawn in and feel like you are a part of it.

Class Act. Robin Roberts has impeccable taste in style and fashion. Her selection has run the gamut of gorgeous pieces. They typically offer the same kind of duality that her personality does, edgy and graceful. She is a woman who isn't defined solely by any aspect of her identity, nor isolated difficulty or any bit of criticism she may receive as a woman in the public eye.

Still, all of these thingsplay a role in her continuing to live life as abundantly as possible. Roberts is a successful Black woman in her 50s. She is the biggest anchor on an Emmy-winning news show watched faithfully by millions of viewers. She has publicly come out to the world and shared her love for her girlfriend, Amber Laign. She beat cancer, and she remains hopeful through her faith. With all of this, you’d think a woman like Robin Roberts has it all, and it would beg the question, “What more can she want?”

Her genuine love for her work, her audience, and those around her is evident. She’s not only admirable for what she does, she’s admirable for who she is and what she embodies.

I stood a few feet away from Robin Roberts at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. She shared kind words with Gloria Carter after presenting Carter with the Special Recognition Award for coming out on Jay-Z’s song "Smile." I saw the solidarity and courage between two successful LGBTQ Black women, and it made me smile. I wanted to tell Robin how gracious she was and how much my mom and I adored her, but I figured this was a better way to show it.

#WeStan is an amp original series honoring LGBTQ legends in media because we know that representation matters. Follow along on GLAAD social mediaFacebook, Instagram, Twitterto see who our fans stan!

Alfonso François is a Communications Coordinator at GLAAD. He focuses on finding and building stories that communicates GLAAD's mission of accelerating acceptance, and celebrating the diversity and importance of the LGBTQ community. Alfonso studied Film & New Media at Wheaton College (MA) after being offered the Posse Foundation Full Tuition Leadership Scholarship.

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