Anderson Cooper

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I was pleasantly surprised to hear on TV the other morning that my darling boy Anderson Cooper has come out of the closet.

 

 

Not that this is a surprise, mind you. I think I (and many others) have pretty much always known that Anderson is on our team. I am always delighted when a celebrity comes out of the closet. As I’ve said before: the more the merrier. It makes it that much easier for a teenager in Two Dot, Montana to come to terms with his / her own sexuality.

 

 

 

And I do like the words Anderson chose, for their breezy casualness: “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 . . . 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.”

 

 

 

Do yourself a favor and go read Anderson’s whole letter on Andrew Sullivan’s blog.

 

 

It addresses, nicely and neatly, the question: Is there ever a good reason to stay in the closet?

 

 

For Anderson, there were two: the desire to have a private life, and the desire – as a journalist – to maintain objectivity. (“I want to report the news, not be the news,” he said.) Not that there’s any question about his objectivity; I find his reporting very balanced. But then, I’m a fan. But his deeper point is worth pondering. If you’re a member of the radical right, what do you think of Rachel Maddow? Smart? Incisive? Nah. She’s that lesbian on MSNBC. See, for a lot of people, you can’t be gay and objective. You’re always advancing the gay agenda.

 

 

(As I’m advancing it now. As in: gay people are part of society. Always have been, always will be.  And, increasingly, we are choosing not to live in celibate seclusion. So go deal with it.)

 

 

As a journalist, Anderson was confident of his own objectivity, but was (understandably) reluctant to give critics any reason to doubt his objectivity. Appearances aren’t everything, but they’re not nothing.

 

 

But sometimes the mere fact that you’ve come out – Here I am! You wanna make something of it? – is a worthwhile and powerful statement.  It goes to prove that “gay,” like “Asian-American” or “Californian,” is just one of many attributes, and it doesn’t define or inform your entire life. He’s not Anderson Cooper the gay journalist; he’s Anderson Cooper the journalist.  (Example: Neil Patrick Harris is super gay. But he plays a womanizer on a stupid CBS sitcom, and people love it. And I love him for doing it.)

 

 

(And here’s another thing: it’s not always safe to be openly gay. Read this excellent piece by Kathy Griffin on the subject. She points out, very neatly, that gay people are subjected to hatred and violence in much of the world – including the United States.  She praises Anderson’s bravery, and rightly so.)

 

 

All things considered, I think Anderson made the right decision. And I like that he did it right after the end of Pride Month. Here’s the message I got from that: Pride doesn’t end on June 30. It’s a yearlong activity.

 

 

Long live Anderson Cooper.

 

 

And his eyes, which (as Anderson tells Pee-Wee Herman at the end of this wonderful video) are a national treasure.


 

 

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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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