Posts Tagged As: Anderson Cooper
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.
October 7th, 2009
CNN’s Anderson Cooper hosted a debate between Dan Choi, West Point graduate and Iraq vet and an Arabic language specialist, and Elaine Donnelly, a woman who has never served a day in her life yet who argues on behalf of her “Center for Military Readiness” against gay people (and women in general) serving in the military.
Elaine’s performance was consistent with previous efforts at warning of the great scary, ooky, spooky, gay folks being in “forced intimacy” with good ol’ homophobes. Which makes me say, “Please God, please. All I want for Christmas is for Elaine Donnelly to stay the voice and face of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Exodus President Alan Chambers appeared on CNN last night. I compare what he told Anderson Cooper with what he wrote in his book, God's Grace and the Homosexual Next Door.
February 7th, 2007
I’ll bet if you were to poll ordinary Americans on the street today, you would find the whole concept of “ex-gay” to be largely unknown. While we talk about ex-gay programs on this website, Exodus and other ex-gay ministries have for the most part escaped the limelight among the general public. Focus in the Family’s Mike Haley once told a Love Won Out audience that Exodus was “one of the church’s best kept secrets.” CNN Producer Jim Spellman says that until he talked with Melissa Fryrear, also from Focus on the Family, he had never met or talked to anyone who considered themselves ex-gay. But with Ted Haggard’s recent miraculous transformation from fallen boy-toy customer to “completely heterosexual” in only three weeks, people are starting to ask questions.
Last night’s edition of “Anderson Cooper 360” on CNN explored the claims of the ex-gay movement. Melissa Fryrear, a “former lesbian” who claimed to no longer have any homosexual feelings, threw cold water on the idea that change can happen as rapidly as three weeks. She told reporter Joe Johns:
“It’s not quantifiable in the sense of years. It’s… For me it was gradual change that was recognizable one year to the next year to the next year. But again, the issues were so complicated contributing to my struggle that it took a significant amount of time to work through those.”
(Note: These transcripts are my own from the DVR. CNN’s rush transcript is here.)
Salon.com’s Mark Benjamin provided what is probably the most startling quote. He talked to dozens of people who underwent ex-gay therapy and said:
“I was unable to find one single person who is not on the payroll of one of these organizations that does this therapy who said, ‘yes, after going through the therapy, in fact, I’m cured of homosexuality.'”
After Joe Johns’ report aired, Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International then appeared with Mark Shields of the Human Rights Campaign to talk with Anderson Cooper. Mark Shields said that Ted Haggard’s claim did not pass the “laugh test.” Alan Chambers, in probably the world’s first instance of an official of Exodus agreeing with a spokesman from the HRC, replied, “I don’t know Ted Haggard’s journey over the last three weeks, but like Mark, I would say that it’s something that… it doesn’t seem like something that is really the case.”
But what’s even more interesting, I think, is that when Anderson Cooper tried to press Alan Chambers on whether he himself was heterosexual and no longer experienced same-sex attractions, Alan ducked and weaved:
Anderson Cooper: So you entered counseling. Do you still have attraction to men, you know, you’re just choosing not to act on it?
Alan Chambers: My attraction greatly dimminished over the course of many years. Sixteen years into it my life isn’t even remotely the same as it once was. But I often say that I will never be as though I never was. And the truth is I’m a human being and for me to say that I could never be attracted to men again or that I couldn’t be tempted would mean that I’m not human and that’s just not the case.”
And a little later:
Anderson Cooper: Even now, you are essentially saying you are trying to control your thoughts, you try to alter your fundamental attraction.
Alan Chambers: No, I wouldn’t say that’s the case at all. No, what I have found over the course of sixteen years is that feelings aren’t everything about you and I live beyond those feelings. Today, ….
Anderson Cooper: What does that mean…
Alan Chambers: … my feelings are, my feelings are much, much different. And the truth is I didn’t leave homosexuality because it was so bad. I left it because I found something better. And today, my life is far better than it was as a gay man. And for those of us, and there are thousands of people just like me who choose to live beyond their feelings, who choose to move beyond the issue of homosexuality, we live wonderful lives, and that’s something we think should be available for everyone who wants it.
Anderson Cooper: And is that based on a belief that you cannot be Christian and gay? I mean is the wonderful life you’re talking about a religious life that you feel is not accessible to you as a openly [sic], proud, happy gay man?
Alan Chambers: Not at all. I think there are plenty of gay people out there who are Christians as well, but for me homosexuality wasn’t compatible with my faith and my faith was much more important than that.
This was a very interesting segment and there is so much to chew on here. Here are a few of my observations:
I think the HRC’s Mark Shields summed it all up best:
You know, I wonder if Ted Haggard had been told as a child that it was OK to be gay and that he could have a rich, full life, if his life story wouldn’t have been less painful and contorted.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.