Anderson Cooper: “The Fact Is, I’m Gay”
Today’s crazy schedule at the office followed by a Hampton Roads Pride board of directors meeting did not allow me to comment until now on the official coming out of Anderson Cooper which was done via an e-mail to Andrew Sullivan that was published with Cooper’s permission. Many have already said their two cents – and not all of it kind – about what many in the LGBT community considered an open secret. But I believe Cooper deserves credit for finally taking the plunge. In his e-mail to Andrew he explained why he had been in the closet so long and also why he finally felt he could not do t any more. To me, here’s the million dollar portion of his statement:
[W]hile 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 do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.
The hate consumed Christianists will never be converted by the coming out of celebrities like Cooper. But the more individuals in the public eye like Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, Ellen Degeneres, Niel Patrick Harris, etc., who live their lives openly, the more the anti-gay stereotypes and lies disseminated by our enemies will be rejected by the majority of society.
It’s also important to realize that each one of us – even if we lack a public platform such as the above cited individuals – can play our own part in being visible and forcing people to open their minds and ultimately their hearts to our community. Yes, it is terrifying at times, but not hiding in fear and being open about who you are does make a difference. Anderson Cooper got that message and took it to heart.
Michael Hamar is an out gay attorney in a committed relationship; formerly married and father of three wonderful children; sometime activist and political/news junkie; survived coming out in mid-life and hope to share my experiences and reflections with others. Follow him at Michael In Norfolk.
Not surprisingly, many of the island’s religious fundamentalists were not delighted by the ad.March 7, 2016
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