Anderson Cooper, also known as "The Silver Fox" is part veteran newsman, part heartthrob. Today, he is also officially an LGBT movement icon. In one of the biggest non-surprise coming out stories, the CNN host stated emphatically that he is a gay man.
Cooper made the announcement via letter to his friend, Andrew Sullivan, a political blogger and reporter. Sullivan asked the son of the fashion goddess, Gloria Vanderbilt, for an opinion on the spate of teen bullying and suicides around the country. Anderson took the opportunity to clearly state his opinion on the important issues -- and his own sexuality.
The fact that Anderson is gay has long been an open secret in Hollywood, among his media brethren and politicos. His handsome colleague, CNN anchor Don Lemon came out in his 2011 memoir, "Transparent." Cooper never actually denied his sexuality; he just never stated it publicly.
The "AC360" talk show host explains that his decision to keep quiet had nothing to do with shame. Instead he cites career and safety concerns. In the letter heard 'round the newsworld Anderson writes, "I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons... But I've also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I've often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people's stories, and not my own."
The forty-five year old journalist felt that this was the time to come out of the closet for the greater good. He went on to say, "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. 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."
Anderson joins a long list of celebs who have come out proudly as gay men and women. Comics Ellen DeGeneres and Wanda Sykes were both originally members of the 'are they or aren't they?' club. Like Ricky Martin, Lance Bass and Clay Aiken, Cooper has surprised no one with his sexual orientation. Instead, his proud announcement has increased the visibility and voice of a segment of our population. Good for him!
What do you think? Are you surprised?
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