Earlier today, in an email released (with permission) by Daily Beast writer Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper came out as gay. In the email, Cooper said that he “couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.” Cooper also gave his thoughts on the duty of gay public figures to come out, balancing it with his own belief that journalists should keep their private lives private in order to maintain a certain degree of journalistic integrity.
The email was in response to a question from Sullivan about celebrities coming out in more low-key ways than they used to. As Sullivan says, “the visibility of gay people is one of the core means for our equality.” This is definitely true, and Cooper agrees, stating that “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.”
His thoughts on the matter are certainly food for thought. Although it’s nice to live in an age when a public figure coming out isn’t the most earth-shattering announcement, there is also something to be said for using one’s public platform to promote equality and awareness of LGBT issues. Cooper even cited higher rates of bullying and self-harm related to bullying as a reason for his decision to disclose this aspect of his identity. By publicly standing with those who are bullied and degraded every day, Cooper has made it clear that he thinks this is an issue of utmost importance.
Personally, I admire Cooper for his integrity and his willingness to open up and create discussion by sacrificing some of his privacy. He sets a fine example, especially for other public figures who are still in the closet, for whatever reason. By coming out, he has added yet another prominent (and widely beloved) name to the list of those whose rights are currently being restricted by their own government. The more people like him step into the light, the harder it will be for people to pretend that those in the gay community are any different – or somehow worse – than those in the straight community.