Dear Anderson Cooper ~ THANK YOU!

Dear Anderson ~

I am a middle-aged gay man and I just want to thank you.  Thank you for coming out of the closet today.  For saying to the world, “I’m gay.”  Of course, the graphic above is funny ~ and I personally will do anything for a laugh, so I had to share it ~ but don’t let it undermine the fact that what you did today was important.  Whatever we knew, or thought we knew, we needed to hear you say it.  It is the most important thing we can do for our LGBT children.  You have become another gay person they can look to when they hear words like “immoral” ~ when they hear angry voices condemning them ~ when they witness polls being taken and votes being cast which conspire to tell them that their equality is far from a reality ~ when they hear debates which confirm for them the fact that this country has not yet reached a conclusion as to whether they’re wanted here, participating fully in the American dream, with the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as their straight counterparts ~ when they read about violence against gay people.  You have become another gay person for whom simply stating who they are isn’t “too personal.”  You have taken us one step closer to an ideal ~ that being out of the closet is no more or less personal than knowing that Katie Couric was married and is now a widow, that Diane Sawyer is married to Mike Nichols or that Joe Scarborough has a wife and children ~ that simply knowing someone is gay is no different than knowing that they are straight ~ that speaking about our lives in the exact same way that straight people speak about theirs is not somehow more intimate or revealing.

You were brave to come out.  As those who came before you lessened your need for bravery, so too does your coming out lessen the next person’s need.  And so it goes.  Until the need for bravery has vanished.  May our LGBT children never know that once upon a time coming out was something someone did “when they were ready.”  May they never have to call upon any bravery to tell people who they are or to live their lives openly and freely.

Thank you, Anderson, thank you, for pushing us one step closer to that ideal.



The full text of Anderson Cooper’s coming out email to Andrew Sullivan is below, via The Daily Beast ~

Andrew, as you know, the issue you raise is one that I’ve thought about for years. Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to.

But I’ve also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist.

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. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally. I did not address my sexual orientation in the memoir I wrote several years ago because it was a book focused on war, disasters, loss and survival. I didn’t set out to write about other aspects of my life.

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.

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.

Since my early days as a reporter, I have worked hard to accurately and fairly portray gay and lesbian people in the media – and to fairly and accurately portray those who for whatever reason disapprove of them. It is not part of my job to push an agenda, but rather to be relentlessly honest in everything I see, say and do. I’ve never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one, and I do not desire to promote any cause other than the truth.

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.

In my opinion, the ability to love another person is one of God’s greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life. I appreciate your asking me to weigh in on this, and I would be happy for you to share my thoughts with your readers. 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.

Posted on Jul 2, 2012 by Ian In: Current Events/Pop Culture/Politics, Write the Power
  • Paul Meenan

    Ian you are so right on stating that this is important. I know a lot of people today are saying “we all knew already” (like your above joke which ‘yes’ is funny) or “why say it? quit pushing your sexuality on us—shut up already.” (Yes I’ve heard a lot of that attitude today too.) Everyone should get to come out on their own terms, on their own time table. No one should be forced out but it is important to come out at some point. It is important for everyone on many different levels.

    You pointed out so well that we all know straight people’s personal business and no one says to quit pushing their sexuality on us. No one says they’re flaunting it. In fact everyone is oblivious to how ofter they hear of straight people’s sexual orientation. So why are so many people upset when they here of the few gay celebrities once in a while? (One gay celebrity per 1,000 straight celebs perhaps.) I don’t care it they yell “enough already” they still need to hear it again and again and again. They need to hear it until the day the “I’m gay” statement is accepted on the level of “I have two dogs.” It’s just a way of giving people a small glimpse into your daily life. Besides how can someone say “Do you have a boyfriend because I know of this cute guy…” if no one knows who you are?

    Let’s face it, LGBTs will never be the majority. Because of that everyone is assumed straight from the moment they are born until they say otherwise. This is why gays will always have to ‘come out’… since they are automatically presumed straight they need to set the record straight (ironic word choice I know.) Even in a idealistic accepting society it will still be human nature to presume a child is straight because we all play the odds. Even gay couples raise their child figuring the child is straight until the child announces otherwise. There’s really nothing wrong with that but we’ve got to be immediately accepting when they do. And to those that sarcastically say they don’t go around saying they’re heterosexual… well duh! You’re sexuality was assumed correctly from day one. Only those that are not the norm have to announce they are not the norm.

    And since LGBT is not the norm those children need people to inspire them, to look up to, to mentor them. Their world isn’t laid out so neatly as the heteroes. Straight people have a hard time understanding the importance of hearing of someone else’s coming out simply because they are not the one’s who feel different. So yes, thank you Mr. Cooper (and every other public figure that tells their truth) for helping the next generation grow closer to that wonderful world we hope to see in our lifetime.

  • Dleamy

    Bravo Ian, Bravo Paul and indeed Bravo and thanks Anderson. Yes, may the statement “I’m gay” be as commonplace, banal and even dull as hearing “I have 2 dogs”. Please please someday someday…let that be the case.

  • Critical Thinker

     Anderson Cooper announces he is a fruit.

    It matters because you
    for sure look at him different. Now you have to imagine another man’s
    cock in his mouth or his cock in another man’s mouth or a another mans
    cock in his ass or his cock in another
    man’s ass when you otherwise would just look at him like a media liberal
    POS! You cannot even call him a useless cock sucker Andy would just say
    yum yum yum… Can you imagine he kisses his mother (Gloria
    Vanderbilt) with that mouth. Andy is probably the bitch in the male on
    male relationship telling his male partner he does not do it right, the
    question is who gets the shittier end of the stick…

« »