Anderson Cooper comes out: Were you surprised?

Credit: Flickr user minds-eye

I’m not surprised Anderson Cooper is gay. Most of us have heard the rumors for years, and heard Cooper avoid directly answering the question. After all, if you’re not gay, why not say so? What surprises me is how long he waited to confirm the rumors, given how many celebrities have already come out without hurting their careers. Cooper has plenty of company: there are several openly gay television news personalities, including CNN Headline News anchor Thomas Roberts and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Cooper made the announcement in an email to his friend Andrew Sullivan of “The Daily Beast.” Anderson gave Sullivan permission to share the email, in which he says “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”

Sullivan had emailed Cooper about the importance of public figures being open about their homosexuality. Sullivan pointed out that, though it causes much less of a stir than in the past when a celebrity comes out, there are still major, highly visible groups of people condemning gay people, trying to restrict their freedoms and even calling for their deaths. Gay youths are being bullied and committing suicide.

Cooper added he hadn’t addressed his sexual orientation before because he believes a journalist’s private life, including religious and political affiliations, should remain private. He also said because he frequently reports from war zones, he feels it is important to blend in as much as possible. Despite his openness, he said he still considers himself a reserved person and hoped he could continue to maintain his privacy. However, he also said “I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.”

What do you think about Cooper’s revelation? Were you surprised? Do gay public figures have a responsibility to be open about their sexual orientation, sort of a “power in numbers” concept? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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