Let me first say this, I’m heterosexual. There is absolutely no way I can put myself in the shoes of a gay person. I have gay friends and I have even attended a gay wedding. This piece is not meant to be homophobic in anyway, but I do understand if some feel it is.
Today, Anderson Cooper “came out of the closet” and admitted publicly what most people have suspected for a long time, that he is gay. I’m struck by how Cooper wasn’t really so much in the closet but was more of the none of your business type:
“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,” Cooper—who says he’s always been open with family and friends—added in his email. “Visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.”
Now I understand the arguments for coming out. Unfortunately, violence and bullying against gays is a problem in this country and by having more prominent people coming out as openly gay will erode anti-gay stigmas. However, this ignores the fact that the best way to teach tolerance is to teach it in the home and in schools. How we can go about it and what it should entail is for another piece.
Ultimately, the fact that Anderson Cooper’s coming out of the closet consumed a large part of the news cycle on social media and the Internet shows we have a long way to go in this country. Sexual orientation; along with race, religious belief, and (in most cases) gender shouldn’t even be at the forefront of the national conversation. We should look at anyone declaring themselves openly gay with a response of “okay, so what.”. It shouldn’t change how we view that person and I think Anderson Cooper himself would like to get to that day where sexuality could be purely a private matter. I don’t want to deny gays, or even straights, any piece of their identity; but I think its absurd just to identify yourself purely by your sexuality. It should be a component part of an overall personal identity.
All jokes on Twitter aside, I think Anderson Cooper is an outstanding reporter for CNN and that didn’t change today with his announcement. I just hope, as I’m sure Cooper himself does, that’s the first thing we think of; not what sex he loves and is attracted to.