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“The Fact Is, I’m Gay”

Jim Burroway

July 2nd, 2012

That’s what CNN’s Anderson Cooper wrote in a lengthy email to Andrew Sullivan this morning. It’s a good email and I encourage you to read it.

He explains why he hadn’t talked about his private life before. A good part of his career involves going to other parts of the world where being gay could place not just himself but his crew in danger. That is a legitimate concern, as reinforced by the recent news that a gay AP Intern in Mexico City was found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft. Also, regular discussions of a journalist’s private life could serve as a distraction depending on the topics he or she covers.

That’s why each journalist, needs to assess his situation individually. And many do keep their private lives intensely private. Quick, without googling, how many marriages has Sam Donaldson had? How about Ted Koppel? What do you know of Edward R. Murrow’s private life?  I’ve long felt that it was okay to give journalists a lot more slack in deciding how to handle their private lives, in contrast to other kinds of celebrities who exploit their private lives for the sake of publicity.

As for Cooper’s private life, he hasn’t exactly shielded his from public view. And that makes it hard to say that he was every really closeted. And so I don’t think anyone is surprised by today’s announcement. But I think many of us are appreciative for many of the same reasons Cooper gives for deciding to come forward. Usually whenver someone famous comes out, we like to title our posts with some variant of “Welcome Out.” But in Cooper’s case, I think I’ll just go with his acknowledgement of fact, a matter of fact that I think we all knew without him saying it. But the fact is, it’s nice to hear him say it.

Comments

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Charles
July 2nd, 2012 | LINK

I am deeply disappointed in Mr. Cooper in hiding his sexuality for so long. He has done a horrible disservice to the gay rights movement to wait so long in confirming his sexuality. I want an apology, immediately. I will never forgive him until he issues an apology.

TampaZeke
July 2nd, 2012 | LINK

If Sam Donaldson, Ted Koppel or Edward R. Murrow were part of oppressed minorities whose oppression flourished due to invisibility then people would expect more “private” visibility from them too.

Nonya
July 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Grow up. Virtually every gay or lesbian person hides that part of themselves at some time or another.

MCB
July 3rd, 2012 | LINK

Regardless of how long it took Anderson Cooper to officially “come out,” I thought his email was a very good defense of the role of a reporter/journalist, and for that alone it’s a good read.

Of course, Cooper is now also a talk show host, so maybe that journalism cred has lost some of its shine…

Charles
July 3rd, 2012 | LINK

Nonya, my post was pure sarcasm. I certainly understand why Anderson Cooper remained partially in the closet. There are certainly some younger gays and lesbians who would don’t know their GLBT history and might be angry at him and expect an apology from him. But not me. I was born in 1951. I grew up back in the dark ages. I’ve been a witness to the one of the most massive social changes in the history of this country, the GLBT movement in the United States and really the entire world. When I got out of college homosexuality was still listed as a mental illness. I was deemed unfit to serve my country in the military or even to be hired by The United States Civil Service. Keep reading Box Turtle to learn about what has just happened during my lifetime.

Regan DuCasse
July 3rd, 2012 | LINK

Dear god…
I’m sick about what happened to the AP intern in Mexico. What a horrible thing to happen to such a young, bright life.

AC’s discretion, considering he’s gone to war torn countries that murder gay people, is understandable on that basis.

Albert McMeen
July 4th, 2012 | LINK

Coming out is definitely not for most of the country! Check out this opinion piece in the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/opinion/a-closet-by-another-name.html?ref=homosexuality.
Living in Louisianna outside of New Orleans is not for the faint of heart. We still have a lot of work to do in education.

jpeckjr
July 7th, 2012 | LINK

“I don’t think anyone is surprised . . .” Well, a straight woman friend of mine was absolutely surprised, really, quite startled by the news. She asked me “Did you know that?”

To which I replied: “Not personally. He’s very handsome and attractive in many ways, but he’s not really my type.

I added: “But, really, it’s not news to gay men who keep up with celebrities.”

I thought his email was important more for his reflections on being a journalist and his efforts not to make himself the story than for his self-disclosure.

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