After years of the public’s speculation about his sexual orientation, Anderson Cooper publicly came out as gay in on thedailybeast.com. Anderson said that although he’s a very private person, he felt compelled to come out because there was a perception that he was ashamed, but that’s not true.
In a letter to journalist Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast, Anderson addressed the issue. He says that he hasn’t talked about his sexuality partly for private reasons, but also because “I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly.”
Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. 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.
I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.
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.
In the past, people with high profiles who were gay had to completely hide who their were to risk losing their job, and public shame and ridicule. Thankfully, we now live in a time where that simply isn’t true anymore. Entertainment Weekly recently did a cover story on how casually gay celebrities are coming out now. When Ellen DeGeneres came out in the 90s, it literally destroyed her career for a while.
Even though the public is still very interested in who’s gay or not, it’s more of the same voyeuristic curiosity in who public figures are dating, than finding it to be scandalous. There are still people who hate and demonize gay people, but those numbers are creeping into the minority.