First off, good for Robin Roberts for finally coming out. While this may be the worst-kept secret ever (hell, even the President knew), it’s important to remember the impact that a high-profile personality can have when she lets the world know she’s lesbian.
What’s hard to understand is why Roberts choose to edit Amber out of her recovery narrative–literally. Roberts allowed camera crews to follow her through her treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), including the brutal side effects of a bone marrow transplant. Roberts chronicled the support and love that her biological family gave her, and the support of her colleagues at ABC. She even showed the good wishes showered on her by other patients and fans.
And Amber? No where to be found.
It’s impossible to believe that Amber was not at Roberts’ bedside through the ordeal or that the camera crews didn’t have footage of her. Instead, a conscious decision was made to exclude that footage.
Now you may say that Roberts had the right to protect her privacy, and that’s true. It would be a lot more credible defense, though, if Roberts wasn’t willing to show gut-wrenching images of herself in a hospital bed clearly fighting for her life.
You can also argue that Roberts just didn’t want to expend the energy on coming out while she was in a battle with her disease. And that’s true as well. But consider how much energy it took to make sure that Amber was never included in the prime-time Peabody Award-winning narrative of Roberts’ illness and recovery. It takes a lot of doing to make sure someone central to your life remains invisible. (And just to be clear, Roberts was her own producer, so she called the shots.)
If you can’t be honest when you are facing death, when can you be honest? Apparently, when you recover. So congratulations to Roberts for finally taking the important last step. The timing of it was up to her. But if you had the same choice, would you have waited?