Media icons, from celebrity chefs to movie stars, are often scrutinized regarding their personal relationships and their sexuality. In recent years, many celebrities have been pushed to come out and openly discuss or display their sexuality. Anderson Cooper has been one of those icons who has had to face constant speculation about his personal life over his years as a journalist in the limelight.
This week, Cooper addressed all the years of public scrutiny about his sexuality with an open e-mail to Daily Beast columnist, Andrew Sullivan. In a calm, direct, and dignified manner Anderson Cooper illustrates the importance of keeping his personal life to himself. He points out that journalists’ private lives should not be central to their work. In his letter he states:
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.
This statement subtly points a finger at a culture obsessed with outing people and dissecting their personal or sexual relationships. In a forthright manner the e-mail also expresses that Cooper has no shame about his identity and that he hopes the comfort he feels in his own skin may encourage everyone to address social issues, such as bullying and discrimination. In his own words:
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.
Cooper concludes his forthright letter with thanks for being a human who is loved and is able to give love.
While most of those weighing in on the issue over the years will not be surprised by Anderson Cooper’s e-mail, the messages he discusses gently point a finger at anti-LGBT activities and rhetoric that strip people of their humanity because of the people they choose to love. Cooper craftily balances a wish to maintain his personal privacy while also affirming pride in his work and his identity.
Photo Credit: minds-eye
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