Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Anderson Cooper: Come out and play

The visibility of gay and transgender people is a big part of the foundation for LGBT equality...Anderson Cooper made headlines for coming out, and today he goes back to being the same Anderson Cooper reporting the news. But for some young LGBT person in our country who is dealing with a hostile school environment, church community, or unwelcoming parents and family, Cooper is a powerful image that you should be loved and valued as a human being, and that image is important.

Becky Garrison, Washington Post

The July 2nd announcement by television personality Anderson Cooper that he was gay was applauded by everyone. There is no question that it was the right thing to do.

His sexual orientation has been the subject of much discussion on the Internet and amongst the chattering classes. In fact, Anderson's pal Kathy Griffin wrote today in the Daily Beast that she got more questions from interviewers about whether Anderson was gay than she got about herself. Still, being a good pal she remained silent on the subject until AC gave her permission to gab about it.

There's been a lot of buzz over the last couple of days about whether it matters that he's gay. I agree with the writer above. Of course, it matters. By coming out in a dignified, low-key fashion, AC is giving young LGBT people a strong role model. No question, he is a principled, well-respect journalist in heavy media rotation. Today, he's out and he's proud. Good for him.

But the burning question is this: why did he wait so long?

Anderson's defenders say he kept his sexuality private for his own personal security. After all, he spends a lot of time in countries where homosexuality gets a person killed. This argument seems to me to be a bit bogus. After all, Anderson is a man who is well known for taking really stupid risks with his life. He's a bit of a cowboy, like Geraldo Rivera. Moreover, he's not a citizen of those countries, he's a high profile journalist which affords him some important privileges. And he helps rebels and the like get their messages out -- so he's a valuable asset.

Besides, he travels with an entourage, including security.

I suspect Anderson's reasons were purely personal. He's uncomfortable about talking about his sexual orientation. He likes his life the way it is: simple.

He says he's there to cover the news, not be the news. That might have been alright when he was a newsie at CNN, but Anderson has also chased the celebrity life. He's not just a reporter anymore, he's a daytime chat show host who covers solacious stories and reality stars.

He's gone out of his way to make himself the story. On his show, Anderson, he's made some pretty startling personal confessions and has made his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, his regular sidekick. He talks openly about his brother's suicide and his mother's weird obsession with clairvoyance.

He still covers the news on 60 Minutes and AC360 on CNN, but he's worked hard to raise his personal profile. In fact, Andersoon Cooper -- the whitest guy in America -- has become the new Oprah.

That makes him a celebrity, not just a newsman.

And if you want to be a celebrity, with all its perks, you have to accept the fact that means you lose your privacy. It's not just about him being gay. Nobody really cares that he's gay

Our celebrity obsessed society would be just as interested in him if he dated a super model. Or got involved in a messy divorce.

It's the price you have to pay for fame.

Ask Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

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