Anderson Cooper: “The Fact Is, I’m Gay, Always Have Been, Always Will Be”
Anderson Sullivan writes a column that deserves attention. He notes that we still have pastors calling for the death of gay people, bullying incidents and suicides among gay kids, and one major political party dedicated to ending the basic civil right to marry the person you love.
Step by step–and I grant my readers those steps in the last years have been big steps in some ways–progress has been made because people put a face to being gay. It is much easier to bash the idea of being gay, than the co-worker who is out and works in the next cubicle. By putting a face to the issue–countless millions of times all over the nation–has allowed for social progress.
I recall having a rather heated exchange when I was about nineteen with a man who thought it improper that the Stevens Point library had books on the topic of living life as a gay person. The homophobe wanted the topic so removed from general discussion that no one would dare live life openly as a gay person. He wanted the books removed.
Needless to say the books stayed, social progress has been made, and lots of gay people are living happily–much more so than the man who argued for not only censorship but limitations on civil rights for gay Americans.
I bring this up as it takes everyone to move this nation along to the next stage. Whether it is arguing with a small-minded bigot, or coming out it all makes a difference.
I only wish that famous people such as Anderson Cooper could have seen the way to come out publicly much sooner. Everyone knew Cooper was gay. And knew for many years.
The point about Cooper I want to make is that those who have the public faces, and by standing up can influence others by moving society forward, have at some level an obligation to do so. While it is true everyone walks at their own pace, it also is true that visibility allows for more acceptance and understanding concerning any issue in society.
Having said that I do not wish to take away from the importance of Cooper’s letter which I post a portion of below.
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.