The closet has glass doors. Quite a number of people from the media has known all along, that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is gay. This is what I have read in most articles in the Internet. Hence, his coming out to most Americans is not really a surprise. He was even named one of the 50 most powerful gays in America in Out Magazine in April of this year, moths before his actual coming-out. So, why did he trend in social networking sites, and made quite a huge noise yesterday when he came out of the closet?
To tell you the truth, I do not know him at all. I might have seen him years ago when there's nothing to watch except CNN in the condo unit I stayed in Hong Kong. That's why even though I didn't know him, his face looks very familiar. So, I read his bio in wikipedia to know more about this guy.
I find the article in wikipedia about him completely interesting. He is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt. My impression is that the Vanderbilts just like the Kennedys are some sort of royalty in America - built a massive fortune from the shipping industry and railroad construction! Elite social circles as everyone would have known have always included the Vanderbilts.
In his teenage years, Anderson Cooper, modeled for Calvin Klein. I won't be surprised because this "silver fox" is obviously gorgeous. As probably one of the highest paid broadcast journalists in America, Anderson Cooper now 45 years old, has earned for himself prominent awards and important citations. So, it looks like that this man has it all. He is rich, famous, multi-awarded, talented, powerful, gorgeous, and seems to have a chiseled healthy body. What could he ask for more? Acceptance? He certainly do not need it. The truth about himself? It's his truth, and he has been comfortable with it ever since (as he pointed out in his email to his blogger friend Andrew Sullivan). If only we knew what he thinks still lacking in his life… that would be interesting!
So back to my first question. Why did his coming out still trend in Twitter and Facebook and other social networking and media sites? It is because of the "perceived courage" of the person coming out of the closet (which is a hundred times for Anderson Cooper because he is a known personality).
It is believed that "coming out" is an act of courage. Why? Is it because after coming out, you'll be thrown in jail because you practice sodomy? or excommunicated in church because being gay is a sin? or your social status downgraded to an "untouchable" as if you have leprosy or a communicable disease? or because you should expect a harder time now at work and in every aspect of your life because of discrimination? Daggers are aimed at you now. Is that it?
Many people think that coming-out is a brave thing to do. I'll tell you why. This is because of the ingrained prejudice of men about homosexuality. Subconsciously, they think that bad things may happen because everybody now knows you're gay. This is really sad but completely true. The thing is this - coming out is a personal matter. It has to be on the person's perceived right time and circumstances, and for the right reasons. It should not be forced. So, coming out really is saying who you are. It should not be a cause for congratulatory remarks or for celebration, but rather should serve as a quiet inspiration and a shining example.
Anderson Cooper is gay. So, what? Labels are for jars and not for people!