Why Anderson Cooper couldn’t come out.

Today, Anderson Cooper came out of the closet to the surprise of absolutely nobody.  Many wondered why he hid it and of course the fact that he hid it has led to years of unabashed speculation as to whether this means he is proud of it or comfortable with himself and so forth.  Graceful as always, Anderson Cooper is nonplussed. He feeds the media gentle cookie cutter lines about privacy and bullied kids.  The meat of his justification for being in the closet lays hidden beneath these gentle layers, easily glossed over:

 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 loved traveling.  I’ve been all over most of western Europe.  I’d love to see the whole world.  Sometimes people ask me why, if that’s the case, I haven’t been adventurous enough to go farther than white, safe, western Europe.  Well, I’m a gay woman.  And I have a trans partner.

While Anderson Cooper now seems content to relegate his talents to talk shows and whatever else on CNN, he made a name for himself covering the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, where it is illegal to participate in gay acts, and Niger, where there are no protections no matter what anyone decides to do to Anderson Cooper’s gay self.

Even though there is plenty of blue on the map, don’t let it lull you into a sense of safety for your LGBT bretheren.  St. Petersburg, a pleasant light blue, has outlawed pride parades and discussing homosexuality around children.  Australia, a tempting darker blue, still can’t seem to get rid of the gay panic defense, a legal loophole that classifies murder as self-defense when the murdered party is a gay person who has made an unwanted advance.

Anderson Cooper is an upper class white gay man from the Vanderbilt family who knows that people really don’t like to be reminded of how much it sucks to be in a marginalized class.  So he did the vast majority of his fans a gracious favor by wandering around closeted for his last decade and a half on television.  Then, when the world traveling was over, he came out quietly and sweetly, never one to go around reminding everyone that his job and life never would have gotten very far if he’d done it any differently.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Why Anderson Cooper couldn’t come out.

  1. drea

    Wow. That was incredibly poignant and to the point, and possibly the most insightful of the things I’ve seen written about Anderson Cooper’s coming out. Well done.

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