Monday, Anderson Cooper, one of the most recognizable faces of the news media today, came out as a happy openly gay man. Cooper came out via a letter to his personal friend Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast.
At a time in history when equality for homosexuals in the United States is growing and nearing a tipping point to being the norm, Cooper’s announcement is a big step forward for all gays and lesbians inAmerica. But, at the same time, it is not as big of an announcement as it would have been just ten years ago.
Today it feels as though when many celebrities come out as homosexual, the response is less one of shock and surprise, but more one of “okay, cool, what else is new?”
Nonetheless, Cooper’s coming out is still a big deal. As mentioned, the acceptance of homosexuality in the United States is growing as time goes on and we are nearing the tipping point where more people support homosexuality than oppose it.
Cooper is helping reach that tipping point
The CNN reporter said the reason he has taken so long to come out was to protect his private life and the people in it. Cooper was aware that his coming out would lead to at least some in the media asking questions and wanting more information that would involve his life away from the cameras and newsroom.
Cooper also told Sullivan that he did not want his sexuality to affect his job. Cooper says he believes that the private life and beliefs he holds as a reporter should not be public as they might hurt his career with people he interviews reacting to him differently because they know too much about his life.
The reporter made it clear that he was not trying to hide his sexuality, but just wanted his privacy. Now he realizes that by coming out he can help the progression towards complete equality for homosexuals.
Cooper’s coming out is not something that will affect his work. He says he will continue to do what he has always done, which is being honest and fair in his reporting, no matter the topic.
Cooper came out in a clear statement
“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.” Cooper’s words are not just his coming out, but also an empowerment for a major movement taking place in our nation.
States are slowly beginning to extend the right of marriage to same sex couples across the country. In other states, the tides are slowly turning in favor of same sex marriage with more and more people opening their minds and ending the discrimination against the gay and lesbian community.
Even President Barack Obama and numerous members of his cabinet have come out in support of same sex marriage. There have even been defectors from the Republican Party over the matter, including some who have donated funds to Romney’s campaign only to ask for them back upon hearing Obama’s words and Romney’s lack of agreement.
The stigma is gone
There is no longer much of a stigma attached with coming out in America. It is true many are still afraid of what others will think when they come out. However, once someone does come out in the United States, the negative backlash is practically gone in most places.
When Lance Bass came out he was greeted with much media coverage. While it was not very negative, the attention he got was great. However, when Neil Patrick Harris came out, it was business as usual. He came out one day and was back at the studio filming for his show, How I Met Your Mother, the next day.
Today, when you hear about Neil Patrick Harris and his boyfriend and how they have two children, not many people are surprised and even less respond with negativity.
There may still be parts in the country where a gay or lesbian couple is not very welcome, but based on the current path of this nation, sooner or later, straight, gay, or lesbian, all couples will be accepted with the leadership of people like Anderson Cooper.