COMMENTARY | Anderson Cooper has publicly confirmed that he is indeed gay. Cooper did not come out with an Earth-shattering public announcement. He came out in a very matter-of-fact manner; through an email to a friend at the Daily Beast. He simply responded with a dignified statement about an article that ran in Entertainment Weekly on June 20. The article titled, “The New Art of Coming Out,” featured stars who have come out in response to the increase in gay bullying in America. His statement indicated that this was a decision that he had contemplated for some time, but now finally came out rather than maintain his privacy.
While it has been common knowledge in the New York area and in media circles, Cooper has never revealed his sexual orientation. He has felt that as a news reporter it was his duty to shine the spotlight on the news he covered, rather than his sexual preference. When the news broke the reaction was less epic than most had believed it would have been. A great majority of individuals has always suspected that he might be gay and there have been hints of his sexuality for years. He had been very open with family and friends who have known that he was gay for many years. He made a statement that he felt there was value to coming forward in the public eye as a show of support for those who have suffered for their decision to be known as openly gay.
Cooper had begun to question if his silence had suggested that he would rather hide his sexual orientation rather than be perceived as hiding his homosexuality. He felt that coming forward was more substantial than maintaining his privacy. This is the choice that many well-known and high profile celebrities and famous people have made to combat the rising occurrences of gay bullying, like Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his roommate bullied him by showing others video of a gay sexual encounter. The straight-talking and grounded CNN news anchor will bring a new level of attention to the hot-button issue. He is perceived as very mainstream and level-minded by conservative and liberal groups. He is known for his ability to report news stories with an exceptional attention to detail and with great polish.
Copper’s decision adds depth to the plight of gay rights and the growing epidemic of gay bullying in America. He is a well-respected news anchor who may help Americans with a negative opinion of gays to make decisions about their acceptance level of gay individuals. His brave decision will hopefully help to change the view of those who would ridicule, belittle and bully individuals who live openly gay. There is no doubt that there have been more celebrities who have come out in recent months to help change the image of gay individuals.