Anderson Cooper: Yep, he's gay

“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.” With those words, CNN journalist Anderson Cooper came out in an email published in his friend Andrew Sullivan’s column on The Daily Beast.

It has long been speculated that the popular news anchor and reporter is gay, but Cooper has fastidiously remained silent regarding his sexual orientation.

So why did he choose now to come out? “I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle,” Cooper wrote. “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.”

Cooper goes on to cite “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” as reasons for making this announcement.

It may be a revelation for some of his fans, but Cooper was hardly closeted among his nearest and dearest. “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.”

We’ve come a long way since the hoopla, celebration — and backlash — of Ellen DeGeneres’s very public coming out on the cover of Time magazine back in 1997. But however much we have (arguably) evolved as a culture, it’s still news when someone of Cooper’s stature publicly declares his sexual orientation, out loud and proud.