July 2, 2012

Anderson Cooper Comes Out...

CNN news anchor, 60 Minutes Correspondent, daytime talk show host, son of Gloria Vanderbilt, and tabloid staple Anderson Cooper came out of the closet today, in an understated way.

Cooper came out quietly, and it won't stay quiet. When asked about a recent Entertainment Weekly cover story on celebs coming out, Cooper emailed his friend -- and out reporter and activist Andrew Sullivan -- a statement in which he came out. Here are some bits of it:

"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud," Cooper says.   

Cooper also explains that although he had always been very open about his sexual orientation to friends and family, others misinterpreted his silence: "It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true."

Cooper, who long faced criticism for not speaking out on the subject, goes on to note the importance of visibility: "I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn’t mean an end to a small amount of personal space. But I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy."
I like when celebs come out;  I believe it humanizes gays and moves us forward when people who think they don't know anyone who is gay realize they do, even if that person is a faraway celebrity they like. I remember when RIcky Martin came out a few years ago, or when Ellen DeGeneres came out many years ago, while was not a shocker to many of us, there were friends and coworkers who were surprised because it had just never occurred to them that this person was gay, and it was a great conversation point about gay people. And a clue that they need to watch more TMZ.

Long rumoured to be gay, Cooper has dodged the question for years. Along with other rumoured gay celebrities like Jodie Foster and Queen Latifah, tabloids have shown him with his alleged partner and told tales, and even the gay press has called on him to publicly come out.

So yes he gets to come out on his own time. That being said, famous people have a huge opportunity to  shape the public conversation and understanding by stepping forward.... congratulations Mr. Cooper!