CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, whose sexual orientation has long been the subject of tabloid gossip and an open secret in media circles, penned an e-mail to Andrew Sullivan (published today) that finally acknowledged not only his orientation but the reasons he refused to address it.
In it, he acknowledges that he’s “always” been out with friends, family and colleagues, but that he didn’t address it in the media for his privacy, the privacy of his significant others and because he worried that it would increase the risks to himself and his colleagues in the course of his war reporting. But, he added:
Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. 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.
In what will be the most-quoted line from his piece, he added, “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.”
The whole piece is worth a read for more than the gossip, though — in it, Cooper talks about the struggle between feeling he’s entitled to some privacy despite his public role as a reporter and his concern that maintaining that privacy might actually cause others to conclude that his sexuality is “closeted” rather than a matter of private concern.
(Of course, no one is running around asking other reporters if we’re hetero — we’re considered so by default, and the fact that we are hetero — or, in some cases, in love — is not really considered a matter of public concern. Hopefully, we get to a point where we don’t all have to plant flags on our various points on the Kinsey spectrum and can just live our lives as we all see fit. Until then, good on Cooper for coming out and, incidentally, denying the people who’ve been making money on the gossip about his personal life the same revenue after today’s email.)