It’s all about the gay
So, Anderson Cooper finally said the magic word publicly. He’s gay. To this I say: big deal.
All the quotes below are from his email to Sullivan, and I’m going to add my two cents as I go. This is a subject I’ve blasted before, and my opinions haven’t changed
Andrew, as you know, the issue you raise is one that I’ve thought about for years. Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to.
Good for him. Cooper spends 90% of his life in the public eye with no privacy whatsoever. Who the hell are we to begrudge him the 10% where he gets to close the door and pull down the shades?
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.
Bingo. That’s called maintaining objectivity and not becoming the story.
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.
I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.
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.
I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist.
Simply put, he’s been out by degrees: out here, out there, not out when the green light comes on. You know why? Because now that he’s come out further, he’s going to be stuck wearing the mantle of “Gay CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper”, not “CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper”. Watch the gay media going forward and you’ll see that I’m right. It’s all about the “gay”, despite the fact that out of the other side of activists faces they’ll cry, “being gay is no big deal, it’s just a part of who we are”. And then they’ll go ahead and make a huge deal out of it no matter what.
Think I’m wrong? The very same day, a journalism intern was was found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft. From every account, he was a wonderful human being and truly passionate about the field of journalism. Every single piece written about his murder? Yep, he’s “gay”. Not that he’s left loved ones behind who’ll miss him, or that a promising journalism career ended horribly before it barely began. The most important thing is that he was gay. Gotta get that gay thing out there, right?
Is there any wonder why the other side doesn’t move towards acceptance just a little bit more? They don’t understand the message. Again, from Cooper:
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.
The point I made in my earlier piece, and I still stand by it. A journalist isn’t the story, he’s the story teller.
I actually live my own life, personal and professional by a simple sentence: I’m gay, so what? It’s not all there is to me, it’s not the most important thing about me, and I don’t wear a scarlet “G” on my forehead. I don’t own a rainbow flag. I don’t re-gender pronouns, and use “they” when I should be using “he”. I wouldn’t hesitate to kiss my boyfriend in public or answer “yes” if anyone did ask if I were gay, but I’m not going to lead off with it either.
Who I love isn’t the only facet of who I am. If we really want the rest of the world to think that being gay just is, then the gay media had best give it a rest on leading every single piece off with it when someone decides to come out. Or, if they subsequently decide to stay in the closet.
Cooper didn’t owe anyone an explanation or confirmation of his being gay, and to say differently is utter bullshit. I think it’s great that he did finally say something publicly, but I suspect it was to finally put the subject to rest far more than anything else. It was far too much noise on the periphery and a distraction from his work.