Why Anderson Cooper Matters

NOTE from 2021: When I noticed my blog was getting hacked in February of 2020 I did some quick fixes and somehow all of my draft posts from the previous 16 years ended up assigned to that month. This is one of those posts. It was written sometimes between 2004 and 2020 but I don’t know exactly when. I deleted most of the posts but obviously I thought this one was worth keeping so I wanted to add the note to clarify any publication date confusion for future Me.

Yesterday, it made the rounds that Anderson Cooper was publicly announcing what most already knew: He is gay.

There was a lot of talk about how, in the perfect world, no one would have to announce this because it wouldn’t matter.

Someone on my facebook page left four different comments claiming, all declaring how they didn’t want to know what was going on in his bedroom. I considered the four comments a little excessive and a little aggressive so I deleted them. If you also read my blog and liked to email me about it, feel free.

ANYWAY…here’s the thing. Yes. In a perfect world it wouldn’t matter and that information would stay in their bedroom.

But, here’s the thing. If Anderson Cooper wants to hold hands with a partner/boyfriend/husband on the street (Just like I would do if my husband was the hand-holding type. HE IS NOT.) that should be okay. Would you tell him, “I don’t want to know! That’s your private business?” Well – because he’s in the public eye – he can’t really do that without being asked incessantly about his sexuality. So, he quietly addresses it first. Now, should he hold hands in public, maybe no one would care.

He’s not telling us what’s going on in his bedroom. He’s simply telling us who he might hold hands with so that when/if he does, maybe people will leave him alone about it.

Because…IT DOES MATTER. Kids are still being harassed to the point of suicidal tendencies. People are being beaten. Civil rights are being denied. To many people it DOES matter. While rights are denied and harassment is dispersed, then it can’t be confined to our private lives. At least not if you live in the public eye. In order to change the world so that no one cares what goes on in our bedrooms? We have to make sure that NO ONE REALLY CARES.

And – in order to get to the point when no one really cares – the people who DO care need to see that it’s not a divisive trait. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes, but there are still huge pockets of society who are sheltered and still think The Gays are different from The Rest Of Us. These sheltered groups fragment more and more each time a familiar face on their television comes out as gay. I can’t imagine the thousands (millions?) of people Ellen Degeneres has turned. And for each public persona that shows that there doesn’t need to be an Us/Them mentality, then the acceptance grows and we follow the path to that dream world when these declarations become unnecessary.

But, until then, I will rejoice every time a public figure openly owns their sexuality. And I’ll hope that there are households around the country where closed minds who adored Cooper as a journalist, will open their hearts a bit and see that the gender of the people we love says nothing about who we are as a person. So that more and more people will feel comfortable loving who they were born to love. Because, while there are still people – especially teenagers – hiding in the closet for fear of backlash in their own community; then there is still a need for familiar faces in the public spotlight waiting for them with open arms.

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