Anderson Cooper, the anchor of Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, has come out as gay. In light of Entertainment Weekly's issue on out gay celebrities in the public eye, Cooper sent an email response to Andrew Sullivan, a political writer for The Daily Beast, and gave him permission to publish it online. In the email, Cooper addressed his decision to keep his personal life private, but also the idea that some think Cooper is trying to hide his sexuality out of fear or shame.
He writes, “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, instead of choosing to remain silent, finally spoke about his sexual orientation. Here is part of his response below (via The Daily Beast):
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.
I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don't give that up by being a journalist.
Cooper, who is also the son of heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, has been the center of long-standing speculations concerning his sexuality. While Cooper has been open about his sexuality privately, he has been silent about it in his professional life. Thus, the media has covered the rumors extensively during his career. Cooper was most famously featured in a 2008 article in Out magazine, entitled “The Glass Closet”. The article was about closeted celebrities who are widely known to be gay in their private circles. Cooper's decision to publicly come out was in part because of Sullivan's request for Cooper to comment on the EW article, which was largely about how out gay celebrities effect the LGBT equality movement.
Cooper ended his email with this statement: “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.”