Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An open letter to Anderson Cooper: Come out!

Hey, Anderson:

Come out. Please.

Put aside all the insipid gossip, stand tall, and be the role model we so desperately need in this day and age. It took the death of Ryan White to have Elton John take a deep look into himself, and change all for the better. Does the suicide of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover mean anything to you?

Yes, you delivered an impassioned segment, and managed to carry the gravity the situation was worth.

But how can you have conversations with others who are taking a stand against gay discrimination, and remain in the closet yourself?

Your sexuality will become a non-issue, believe me. We don't care who you date; indeed, we won't CARE who you date. Sure, you can still drag Gloria out for your birthdays on-air, but you can also feel free to walk the carpet with either Jake Shears, or one of your other openly-gay friends.

You already have distinguished yourself as a journalist who matters, as someone who will shine the light on those we need to keep honest, and the stories which need a bit more attention. And, to warm the rest of the country up to you, you are certainly a champion for our canine companions, and have always been.

All you need to do is to have your publicist release a statement, very short, and to the point. Even go so far as to say "this is not a topic of discussion and I will not respond to questions about my sexuality in the future. PERIOD."

Look how much our new President has done for us. Do you think the "N-word" has as much sting? No way! Go ahead. Use it. Call someone a "n*gger." What will you get? Probably a laugh, and a reply: look who's running the country.

I don't know why every other reporter and everyone else in your industry affords you the "bubble" you appear to live in. That even demeans them as a reporter. I'd love to see a town meeting where someone, on live television, asks you why you won't come out of the closet.

If you really want to do something to counter the gruesome bullying which still continues in this country, in Iraq, and across the world, come out. Please.

You are very well known, and are such a role model, in so many varied ways.

Be one more. Be an openly gay man. Put paid to it.

And then, let people know it's not a topic for discussion, and move on to do what you do best:

highlight what needs to be seen in this world, no matter who, no matter how, no matter where.

And I guarantee you'll sleep better at night.

(PS: Did you just say "tea-bagging" twice to David Guergin?)

"It's hard to talk when you're tea-bagging." –| Anderson Cooper


Anonymous said...

Dream on, it'll NEVER happen! He's from the old school ways where you stayed in the closet all of your life just like his very good friend Barry Diller. You may as well find someone else to be your poster boy because it will not be Anderson Cooper!

Anonymous said...

He's not in a "bubble". He's been asked a number of times by interviewers if he's gay and he explains he's not going to discuss it. He gets outed all the time.

If the rest of the news industry isn't more aggressive with him and leave it to the magazines, gay press and blogs to hassle him all the time it is probably because they are standing in a glass house. Lots of people in TV news are gay and closeted to the public, and the industry know that. Anderson is the only one who gets pressured all the time and has everyone obsessed about his dating and sex life, but he sure isn't the only gay in TV news.

In regard to Carl, I can't help thinking if some of the black or mixed race gays in TV news came out like Donna Brazile, Suzanne Malveaux and Don Lemon came out it would have more impact on members of the black community and be looked to more by black kids as role models. There really aren't any out black gay role models for kids, and that's a problem. Any gay kid who actually knows who Anderson Cooper is would know he's gay by now, any one who googles him knows. The others would be more of a surprise and I think they would be easier to identify with. How many bullied gay kids can relate to a passes for straight Vanderbilt kid model with gay friendly parents who grew up surrounded by literary and art celebrities and attended an elite private liberal arts academy?

B.man said...

You are absolutely right. Anderson Cooper comes from a life of privilege, and precious few of us can identify with that. Sure, he's had some tough moments along the way, specifically the suicide of his brother, and the death of his father. We ALL go through something.

But I couldn't agree more about needing out black gay role models. It's one thing to have a black (or, as many people I know prefer to put it "bi-racial") president in The White House, and it's just a great to see Michelle Obama in her Gap, American Eagle, Talbot's and all the rest. She oozes class. And the dynamic of the family really does come across, if the media could just get out of the way a "wee" bit.

As far as "out" media darlings, we need to muzzle Suze Orman. She's rapid, manic, and demeaning to all people who just can't manage to get a grip on their finances. Doesn't she realize that everyone is good at something? Every marriage, every partnership has one person who "pays the bills" or handles the household finances. The rest of us do it because we are obligated to do so, but how many of us are savvy enough to navigate the waters of investment, 401(k) and all the rest. We are lucky if our employer actually HAS some retirement plan in place for us, whether or not it's funded 100% by us. Either way, I digress.

We need to have more "closeted" media people, actors, actresses etc step up to the plate, and step out of the closet.

Black kids especially need to have their role models. After all, if it's anything beyond a sports figure, it's probably some vulgar rap artist or some self-made "celebrity" like Puff Daddy or Snoop Dogg. Talk about vulgar. Then the kids think they need to grow up, wear bling, and the rest will fall into place.

We all need our role models, and those privileged enough to have a very visible and vocal place in the world NEED to take the lead, and speak out.

The rest of the media should push, and hard. But we run the risk of the "glass house" syndrome. Let he who is without sin cast the first question.

There is no easy answer to this question. The best way to handle this is "yeah, I'm gay, so what?" END OF STORY.

And if they make it the "end of the story" it will cease to BE a story.

Then we'll have to deal with the paparazzi chasing them down, seeing who they're dating, where they are going...you know: the invasion of privacy already denied to celebrities anyway.