You would have to be living under a rock not to at least suspect that Anderson Cooper is gay. Today, in an email printed on Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Beast blog, Cooper largely told the world what we all pretty much knew. However, I am not here to cast aspersions on Cooper for waiting so long to come out. Rather, to offer some thoughts about the why. After all, we already covered the story elsewhere. Cooper wrote and Sullivan published, in part:
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. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist.
I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally. I did not address my sexual orientation in the memoir I wrote several years ago because it was a book focused on war, disasters, loss and survival. I didn’t set out to write about other aspects of my life.
Sometimes coming out of the closet is not the same for everyone. Recently, celebrity Chef Anne Burrell came out after she was kind of nudged out by a fellow Food Network celeb. Anne had not actually been in the closet. It wasn’t like her friends and family did not know that she is a lesbian. Instead, she just had not come out to the world.
That is a lot of what happened with Anderson Cooper, but rather than just being because of a need for protection. Cooper has spent a lot of time in places where being American is not a very popular option for someone, and being a gay American is likely to be a huge problem.
Cooper understands that there is a fine balance needed. Certainly we need people who are open about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual because of the youth out there who face these horrible days in which they have few positive signs in their lives, but should that come at the risk of someone’s life if they are in a very risky business?
It is wonderful that Cooper has finally come out. Hopefully this will not be at the expense of his life or his safety.