In an e-mail message to the Daily Beast‘s Andrew Sullivan that was posted to the site on Monday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper came out publicly as 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,” he wrote.
Cooper also explaims why he hasn’t talked about his sexual orientation.
“Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places,” Cooper wrote in his email to Sullivan.
“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.”
Cooper’s email to Sullivan suggests that changing attitudes and feedback from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the United States had forced his hand, writes Los Angeles Times.
“Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle,” he 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.”
He added, “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.”
Cooper also adds that he’s always been this open with family, friends and 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,” Cooper says.
“The ability to love another person is one of God’s greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life,” Cooper says in closing.
“I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn’t mean an end to a small amount of personal space. But I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.”
However, Cooper’s sexual orientation has been common knowledge — and for a long time, one of the media business’ open secrets: whispered about, never confirmed on-the-record, sometimes to the point of resentment. But his coming out still clearly matters to a lot of people.
Cooper becomes at least the sixth, though by far the most high-profile, openly gay anchor in the cable news business. He joins CNN colleagues Don Lemon and Jane Velez-Mitchell, as well as MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, Rachel Maddow and Steve Kornacki.
The Huff Post reports that previously, the 45-year-old CNN anchor and daytime talk show host has been romantically linked to Benjamin Maisani, the co-owner of New York City gay bars Eastern Bloc and Bedlam.
Roberts, Lemon and DeGeneres responded to the statement and tweeted their well-wishes. So did Cooper’s close friend Kelly Ripa. Gay rights group GLAAD also issued a statement.
“Even prior to coming out publically, Anderson’s terrific work has raised awareness of inequalities facing LGBT people,” GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said. “I’m proud to call him my friend. He’s a role model to millions and now will inspire countless others.”