It's Official - The Silver Fox Plays For Our Team
Anderson Cooper, CNN's most interesting and dynamic journalist, has announced what practically everyone in the LGBT community already suspected: that he is a proud gay man. In the past, his sexual orientation was only shared with family, coworkers, and friends. Cooper's official revelation arrived in the form of an email sent to pal Andrew Sullivan, a popular political pundit for the Daily Beast. Cooper has generously allowed Sullivan to share this news with the public.
After explaining that previous attempts to keep his private life separate from his professional career was guided by concern for the safety of his staff overseas, Cooper reflects:
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 ...
Being a journalist, traveling to remote places, trying to understand people from all walks of life, telling their stories, has been the greatest joy of my professional career, and I hope to continue doing it for a long time to come. But while I feel very blessed to have had so many opportunities as a journalist, I am also blessed far beyond having a great career. I love, and I am loved. (Read the entire piece here.)
In recent years, a surprising number of celebrities have left the closet - at different points in their lives, and for different reasons. To my mind, Mr. Cooper's observations are more refreshing and candid than most.
John Mitchell on MTV: Cooper had long been in what many call the "glass closet" — a phrase used for a person who is known to be gay but is not out publicly — and is the latest to step out, after "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons, "Magic Mike" actor Matt Bomer and "Star Trek" actor Zachary Quinto all threw open the closet door in quick succession and with little fanfare ... It seems likely that Cooper was holding on to his open secret until he'd felt he'd proven something, until he was in a place where his work spoke so loudly for itself that his command as a newsman could not be questioned.
Anderson Cooper's gal pal Kathy Griffin writes about her friend: He’s covered the military coup and eventual unseating of the democratically elected (albeit bat-shit crazy) Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He’s covered the small wars in Africa that use children as slave soldiers ... He’s covered the seemingly endless large wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And by “covered,” I mean he’s really gone and covered them—with a security detail and without; embedded with troops and unilaterally—not from the relative safety of the Green Zone in Baghdad or the international zone in Kabul. He’s sat down with despots in countries like Somalia, covered the atrocities in the Balkans and Burma. And he also happens to be gay ... Many of my young gays don’t know about Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” initiative, which was developed with the help of some extremist American evangelicals. Many don’t know about Stonewall or, more recently, the importance of Lawrence v. Texas. They don’t know (that) Iran has sentenced gay teenagers to death by hanging. They don’t know that in large portions of Baghdad, honest LGBT folks are hunted and summarily executed by roving bands of so-called morality police, who kill with impunity both the “out” and those simply perceived to be gay. What many young people do know is what they read in short bursts on celebrity Twitter posts or on TMZ ... I love my friend Anderson and remain immensely proud of him. And I’m honored, truly, that he considers me a friend. I just want him to be careful.
Rural America, particularly in Southern states, can be almost as dangerous for LGBT folks as theocratic Islamic nations. In both places, fundamentalist clerics stand behind their pulpits and call for the extermination of homosexuals.