Anderson Cooper, one of America’s best-known television news anchors, has acknowledged that he is gay and the viewers seemed to shrug. He never wanted to admit his homosexuality because he felt it was a potential career-killer.
“I’m gay, always have been, always will be” Cooper said during his news program on Monday.
The New York Daily News reports that there were long discussions online about the whys and hows of coming out. There were conversations at other networks about what it might mean for other national news anchors who are gay but who have not spoken publicly about their sexuality.
Mostly, though, there was chatter about how unremarkable it all was. Cooper’s sexual orientation, after all, had been an open secret for a long time. Years ago, he confided in friends and colleagues that he dreaded being known as “the gay anchor.”
Since then, openly gay anchors have made inroads in other time slots and on other television networks. At a rapid pace, television news and opinion channels have reflected the growing acceptance of gays in society — and perhaps have sped up that acceptance, just as TV shows like “Ellen” and “Modern Family” have.
Said Cooper, “The tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible.”
Cooper did so not on television, but rather in an e-mail message to the gay blogger Andrew Sullivan, who said he had e-mailed Cooper last week to ask him about the trend of relatively casual “I’m gay” statements by public figures. Cooper responded by continuing the trend.
By the time Mr. Sullivan published it on Monday morning, with Cooper’s permission, the anchorman was out of the country on assignment for “60 Minutes” — avoiding all the subsequent interview requests and online debates. CNN said he would not be back on his prime-time program, “Anderson Cooper 360,” until Thursday.
Along with “360,” Cooper, 45, a son of the heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, hosts a daytime talk show on local stations, “Anderson,” and contributes to “60 Minutes.” The announcement on Monday makes him the most prominent openly gay journalist on American television.