Anderson Cooper Comes Out As Gay

"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be"

Um, you guys, Anderson Cooper just came out as a gay man. Andrew Sullivan, one of Anderson‘s good friends and writer for The Daily Beast, published a lengthy email written by Cooper that plainly states that he is a gay man. His email statement sounds genuine and could be, perhaps, the only way that Anderson Cooper felt comfortable coming out with his sexuality (ie. because he is a newscaster, maybe Anderson feels it would be more appropriate for someone else to share his news for him). Click below to read Anderson Cooper‘s statement in full and see what you think.

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.

This is just amazing. I am so happy that Anderson has finally come to the point in his life where he is comfortable with coming out. It is not easy, believe me. Many people, my friends included, give Anderson lots of Hell for staying in the closet because they insist that his silence (and the silence of other famous closeted gays) hurts other gays … which is a belief that I vehemently do NOT agree with. Yes, the more people come out, the more of a non-issue being gay becomes … but I would never impose such a responsibility on any one person. Coming out is an extremely personal matter and I would never, ever want to force someone to come out. In all honesty, Anderson‘s homosexuality has been well known for years in NYC, NY. As you may know, Coop has been dating his longtime, live in boyfriend Benjamin Maisani for years (we’ve seen the couple at the gym, on bike rides and on parade floats together over the years) so, for many, Anderson‘s coming out isn’t really Earth-shattering news. BUT, clearly, Anderson felt it was time to come out publicly to everyone else who isn’t as well versed in his personal life. I am so happy for him, really. As difficult as it may be to work up to coming out, the relief one feels after they do so is overwhelming. I have always been an Anderson Cooper fan, and honestly, I couldn’t be more thrilled for him right now.

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  1. This is legit. It’s been a well known “secret” for years. His private life is his private life and no one should be forced to come out, but I’m glad he felt comfortable enough to share these thoughts.

  2. Mary Deann

    A beautiful and heartfelt response.

  3. apriljan

    I love him so much.

  4. Keegan

    Yay Anderson! You go girl!

  5. kim

    I agree with Meghan, it’s great that he felt comfortable to share these thoughts. I really think it’s awful that gay people have to, or even feel like they have to, come out. It’s almost as if, oh we have to label you so we know who you are. I never “came out” as a straight person, why should gay people? Hopefully someday soon we can get to a point where we love and respect one another because of who we are not who we sleep with. Still, mad props to Anderson! Whether you have to or not, it sure takes guts to come out.

    • Krissy

      I agree a lot with what you said!

    • fmx

      I can see why he didn’t want his personal life to be the topic of his news, he seems like he is in a comfortable place with himself to be able to share this. “I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist.”

  6. Katie

    Yay! I’m glad to see he finally made it official. Makes me adore him even more :).

    His comment about blending in made me chuckle a little bit. I’m not sure the “silver fox” would ever be able to blend into any crowd!

  7. Kiki

    Is it just me or are these “coming out” stories just complete non-stories now? Does it matter? Does it change your opinion about these people? Does it change their ability to continue on doing what they are doing?

    And, really, this one was pretty obvious, girlfriend.

    • @Kiki — “Is it just me or are these “coming out” stories just complete non-stories now? Does it matter? Does it change your opinion about these people?”

      Unfortunately, they are still “stories” because we live in a society that still treats the GLBT community as second-class citizens. The point IS that coming out does have NO impact on anyone else’s lives … but the more people who come out, the more of a “non-story” it feels to more and more people (like yourself). The fact that YOU feel it is a non-story means that the impact of people coming out is working. I say this all the time, in the hopefully near future, coming out will no longer exist. Discussing one’s sexuality will be as commonplace (and boring) as discussing shoe size or t-shirt size. Coming out has absolutely nothing to do with one’s ability to “continue doing what they are doing”, it’s more a matter of letting more and more people realize that there are a lot of gay people in the world … and we refuse to be treated like second-class citizens.

    • Kiki

      Oh I agree with everything you’ve said. In fact, I read an article in EW a few weeks back that is really well written about “The Art of Coming Out.” It compares the impact of Ellen Degeneres’ big coming out 15 years ago (YES it has been taht long!) and how America reacted then versus how we are reacting now. It’s a good read!

      http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/06/20/this-weeks-cover-new-coming-out/

    • Well said, Trent.

  8. Trent, WORD! I love every word of his statement.Coming out is so extremely personal, and I hate how some in the community feel like all gay celebs must be out. I appreciate the ones who are, definitely. However, fair or not, celebrities are a product and have plenty of people depending on them for their livelihood. It’s just just a single person who depends on those decisions. Before I get off on more of a tangent, CHEERS to Mr. Cooper for a fantastic statement. I’m gonna go now and watch his Gerard Depardieu gigglefest! <3

  9. Karen

    I’m happy for him that he felt ready to come out to the public, and I’m happy for him that he was able to do so on his own terms.

    I always feel happy for people when they come out. I remember the first friend who came out to me and feeling so thrilled for him as he was telling me.

  10. Nathan

    I don’t believe that he chose not to come out for professional principle. He chose not to come out in the news because he wasn’t ready until now.

  11. Good for Anderson! It’s sad that he perhaps felt that he had to hide his sexuality all these years.

  12. Marcus

    I totally agree with you regarding coming out being a person’s personal experience. It is an extremely difficult thing to do and whenever a person is ready to do so, its there personal decision. I agree that because Anderson and other celebrities are coming out it is possibly becoming an easier thing for others. I’m glad that he was able to just do it, his way…

  13. Lexifer

    Love this, his letter is so eloquent.

  14. rOXy

    As usual, Trent, yours is the voice of reason, fairness and compassion. I agree that just because someone is a celebrity or a public figure, does not mean they don’t have a private life. No one should ever be forced to come out, nor looked down upon if they choose to stay in the closet for good. These people have privates lives and staying in the closet is sometimes an unselfish act perhaps because they don’t want to hurt someone they love. Whatever their reasons, they are entitled to them. Being a celebrity does not automatically come with the responsibility of activism. It’s a good thing when people use their public clout to get a message across for a a good cause, but just because someone doesn’t choose to take on the mantle, does not make them a coward. Sorry for the rant, but I am hearing the attitude of forced disclosure more and more these days, and it needs to stop. I agree that sexuality should be a boring subject. The fact that it is still a speculative subject at all is an indication that much of society still acts like children giggling behind a tree because they saw the lace hem on their teacher’s panties. Grow up America!

  15. Lily

    In other news, fire is hot.

  16. John

    @Christine

    He clearly has never hidden his sexuality, otherwise instead of being with his boyfriend of years that everyone knew about, he would be with a number of beards..

    Like others have said, this is such a personal issue and i applaud him for being himself the whole time and its more important that he was out of his OWN closet, and with the man he loves..the rest doesnt matter

  17. yaj

    I am the only one who thinks that this just hurts gay acceptance further. I mean, in the year 2012, do we really need to have an announcement when someone so obviously gay is gay and has been known to be gay for nearly a decade?

    Straight people don’t “come out” or hide the identity of their “partner.” Jesus Christ people, just live life, move on, and don’t ask for any apologies and you’ll get far more acceptance than throwing your own party parade to celebrate how “happy and proud” you are to have by chance been born gay.

    I’m not proud I’m gay, I’m just gay. I’m not proud to have brown hair either. Pride is for achievements, not what you just happen to be by chance.

    Coming out stories are so 1999, lets move on. Anderson and Ricky Martin can join the “nobody talks about me like they used to so lets pull out the final trick” club.

    And besides, the black guy form CNN came out first so… yeah…

    • @yaj — “Straight people don’t “come out” or hide the identity of their ‘partner.’”

      Straight people don’t come out because we live in a heteronormative society. Everyone is assumed to be straight by default, therefore, there is no need for heterosexuals to announce their sexuality. You are incorrect in your belief that coming out “hurts gay acceptance”. On the contrary, your frustration as to why it has to happen at all is proof that the practice of people coming out is HELPING gay acceptance. It’s only when so many gays come out that it is SO commonplace, so unsurprising and, yes, so annoying that “gay acceptance”, as you call it, will reach a level of normativity in our society.

    • Ben@pr

      @Trent, “Heteronormative society” so true and I like the phrase so much I will use it from now on.

  18. Liz

    I hope this statement doesn’t cause any problem in countries where being gay is a crime like Iran.He does lots of work in Middle east. and.Africa

    • fmx

      I had the same thing in mind, I think it would depend on the type of scenario he is reporting in, I think in most cases though he would just be another *white* american reporter. I don’t think it would be a huge safety concern unless it’s a one on one with a high political figure who does research on their reporters beforehand, but I would think that would be in a secure setting. Random reporters getting kidnapped is gonna happen anyways despite his sexuality.

  19. claire

    I grew up in rural southwest Virginia (aka the bible belt) and it was hard for me to see my closest male friends bullied for being perceived as gay (none of them were openly gay at that point, and who could blame them?) was very hard for me. I moved the hell out of there as soon as I went to college and since then, have lived in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles where it was no big deal in the social circles I ran in. I took part in the Pride Parade in Chicago a couple weeks ago and near the very end of the route, there was an anti-gay demonstration going. Even though I obviously knew those people existed, it was very powerful (not in a good way) to see that hate firsthand. I’d seen pictures and knew they were out there but to be in support and part of something and then have someone chanting horrible things through a megaphone it was… a terrible feeling – and I’m not gay so I don’t even feel the emotional brunt of it. Even in the comments of the articles I’ve read about Anderson coming out… People are so… It’s just awful.

  20. Kiki

    Wait, you guys… I think all of our reactions are summed up best in GIF formats (courtesy of this link to Buzzfeed) http://www.buzzfeed.com/stacylambe/how-people-reacted-to-anderson-coopers-coming-out

  21. ChristineLA

    I love this, every single word seems so carefully chosen, and it could not be more eloquent if he tried. I fall into the category of people for whom this is not news, but THREE of my actual friends expressed shock today at this news.

    I think it is SO important for gay people in any position of influence to live their lives freely and without any hiding, which Anderson Cooper has never done. He is exactly equivalent to Matt Bomer in that respect, who has been seen and photographed for years with his partner AND children. Yet some people still expressed some measure of shock when Matt Bomer made a public declaration about his partner and children.

    Recently, Anderson Cooper has been very vocal about the current state of bullying in this country, even going so far to have an anti-bullying pledge available that he asks his Twitter followers to sign. If this “coming out” message stops ONE gay child or teen from committing suicide because they feel being gay is a hopeless situation rather than just a statement of fact, it is a good thing. I applaud him, while completely admitting that it is ridiculous he had to make a statement in the first place.

  22. Ben@pr

    Congrats Mr. Cooper for this big step. I like how he pointed out from the beginning that his job included being in war zones in different countries. Some people just don’t get why some people don’t stamp a rainbow into their forehead and if they don’t do it are called derogatory names. Every one should come out in their own terms and that includes public figures.

  23. Rebecca

    Have to say agree with yaj. Not that Anderson coming out hurts necessarily but that it’s disappointing it makes such a story. The guy is just living his life after all.

  24. PixiesBassline

    What the hell? I thought he came out of the closet YEARS ago! Maybe I wasn’t really keeping up with him that closely but I really thought he was openly gay for a while now.

  25. KD

    This is kind of old. Anderson Cooper stated that he was gay about 5 years ago. It wasn’t exactly private. He has said it numerous times. Although I completely support him being gay.. the story is just kind of old….

  26. What a great advocate for our community. :)

  27. Ashstar

    I hate noseyness and bullying. Sad, but even in the worksplace you are bully into disclosing issues that isn’t no one’s business.

    The pressure to disclose one’s personal life is a turn off.]

    Otherwise, luv Cooper!!

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