“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,” Cooper wrote in an official letter published by Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast. His decision to come out as described by Cooper was written: “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.”
Son of Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress of the affluent Vanderbilt family and the late writer Wyatt Emory Cooper, he graduated from Yale University. Having no formal journalistic experience, through Cooper’s persistence and passion for reporting, he earned his way to prominence by moving from the bottom up. Until this personal milestone in his career, Cooper did not feel the need to share his orientation in order to keep impartiality evident in his line of work.
As written by him, “As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter.”
Cooper’s recent revelation plays an important role in both the LBGTQ community as well as outside of that community to the general public. He is the first prime time news anchor to label himself as gay—his CNN associate Don Lemon came out in 2011. GLAAD President Herndon Graddick stated, “Even prior to coming out publicly, Anderson’s terrific work has raised awareness of inequalities facing LGBT people. He’s a role model to millions and now will inspire countless others.”
Andrew Sullivan smartly pointed out, “We still have pastors calling for the death of gay people, bullying incidents and suicides among gay kids, and one major political party dedicated to ending the basic civil right to marry the person you love. So these ‘non-events’ are still also events of a kind; and they matter. The visibility of gay people is one of the core means for our equality.”
In Cooper’s letter, he also addressed the previous statement. “But while I feel very blessed to have had so many opportunities as a journalist, I am also blessed far beyond having a great career. I love and I am loved.”
“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.”
Cooper has yet to comment outside of the letter, as there are currently no plans to discuss the matter on air. Cooper’s friends and colleagues have shown their support via Twitter briefly after the revelation.
In regards to media backlash, Cooper’s declaration has been predicted to not spur much setback. As Horizon Media analyst Brad Adgate said, “This is probably just pushing the envelope a little bit forward.”