Anderson Cooper just came out. No big deal, huh? Actually, yes, it’s a big deal. He had made no public statements about his sexuality or his personal life in the past, and especially how he made his coming out statement was empowering for the LGBT community. But before we go on to the significance of his coming out, I’m kind of shocked that as many people as I thought know Cooper and those who do (mainly straight people) are not taking this piece of news very seriously.
I just told a gay friend of mine that I’m excited about Cooper’s coming out news and that I’m obsessed with him (Cooper, not the friend) at the moment. His reply, “Who’s that?” I was dumbstruck. Cooper’s sexuality has been in question in the public’s eyes and it was apparent from time to time that he is gay. In the LGBT community where icons and idols are a thing of treasure – mainly because we as a minority need people to look up to – Cooper is one legitimate gay icon. First off, he’s one hell of a hunk. That hair, those eyes and his whole face and his lean figure! And he is a journalist/reporter who does his job splendidly. He’s even an icon of CNN. Well, of course, he has never been personally or actively outspoken about LGBT issues, but we all would recognize him as that hot newscaster on CNN.
And, do gay news ever reach straight people, or do they not care that much? I mentioned to a (straight) friend of mine that the Anderson Cooper news is gonna take over the internet and all media, on Facebook chat. He said, “What news?” I have a lot of subscriptions to LGBT news and media on the internet and the Cooper stories are taking over my Newsfeed and he must have seen it (I thought). Even my father had read the news and was (kind of) freaking out about it. It didn’t seem important to my friend. After all, we’ve all perceived him as gay over the past how many years? I don’t know.
Now, with the gravity of this glorious Cooper-coming-out event … He specifically mentioned his orientation in relation to his profession as a journalist in an open letter. It’s kind of sad, for me, how he felt the need to keep his personal life to himself for the sake of professionalism. Here’s a remarkable statement from the email/letter to Andrew Sullivan which holds his coming out message:
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 agree with his decision concerning his job, but it’s heart-wrenching also. But in the later part of the letter, he recognized the significance of coming out and being out by saying, “There is value in standing up and being counted.” He also mentioned that he had worked hard to portray the LGBT community “accurately and fairly” in the media as part of his job. He concluded by stating his primary reason for making this public statement about his sexuality, “[V]isibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.”
He hasn’t appeared on CNN yet since then. He has done a great job as a journalist, travelling to far-off places, meeting people and telling their stories. Now his story is being told and I don’t know how deep it would go. But, fingers crossed, people don’t crowd over him on this matter and hinder him from doing his job as well as he’s always been doing.
Relating his epic coming out statement to how I’ve been blogging, he further confirms my belief that the LGBT community, as a minority, needs to let out our voice. I was talking earlier today about being out, proud and loud. Cooper has been telling stories of others for a couple of decades and he finally decided, on Andrew Sullivan’s suggestion, that his story is noteworthy also. His cause for coming out is very much in line with my thinking and why I’ve been posting the stuff I’m posting on this blog. Well, I take things to the extreme and throw everything out in the open though. Cooper likes being “reserved” – which is NOT my thing. Anyway, I greatly appreciate and applaud Cooper for writing his statement.
> Adding updates to the post:
This popped up on my Facebook newsfeed this morning:
I found this absolutely “Hillaryous”, but on the other hand I found this nice review of Cooper’s coming out on Huffington Post’s Gay Voices.