I’ve been out for a long time now, over a decade at this point, and pretty much the entirety of my adult life. So it strikes me as odd that there are people out there who remain in the closet for as long as they do. Particularly when they’re in a position of power or influence, and still insist on the charade of saying that they’re straight.
Anderson Cooper, son of socialite Gloria Vanderbilt and CNN correspondent, came out today. It was an open secret for years. I, for one, adored the New Year’s Eve specials with Kathy Griffin where she mercilessly mocked his homosexuality in a way that only she could, and he, uncomfortably managed to deftly deflect her jibes throughout.
That Cooper waited until the first working day after Gay Pride Month to public announce that he’s gay, well, that speaks volumes, I think as to the comfort level he has with his announcement. During a holiday week smack dab in the middle of summer right after all of the parades and all have passed, and he just issues an email. In his business, this is known as taking out the garbage, as you just dump it all out there, and hope noone notices.
I don’t dispute that coming out is hard. I should know, I’ve done it. But for a man who has so little to lose to take such a timid approach is disappointing. In his email, he claims that journalists shouldn’t be judged on who they vote for, how they worship, or other attributes of their personal lives. And while in a perfect world, he’s right, the fact of the matter is that when we meet and assess people, you can’t strip out any one attribute and judge them on only the ones that they want to be judged. You can’t separate the fact that I’m white, that I’m a male, or an American or an ex-Catholic or a Democrat from who I am, any less than you can separate out the fact that I’m gay. It’s a part of who I am, and I feel no shame in it. It’s obvious, and rather sad, that Anderson Cooper still feels a certain amount of that shame, though I finally congratulate him on taking that one hard step.