The statement was not supposed to be statement, Anderson Cooper coming out as gay. His e-mail to longtime friend Andrew Sullivan was published on The Daily Beast today, and in this e-mail, Cooper comes out and reassures his friend that this announcement—which surprised who, really?—would not change his objectivity as a reporter.
“It is not part of my job to push an agenda, but rather to be relentlessly honest in everything I see, say and do,” Anderson wrote. “I’ve never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one, and I do not desire to promote any cause other than the truth.”
Entertainment Weekly, recently, ran a story (“By the Way, We’re Gay. The New Art of Coming Out) about the non-event coming out is—and should be—these days. How far we’ve come from the days of Ellen DeGeneres, but isn’t needing a story like EW’s proof that we haven’t come far enough? The real story, one day, should be that there is no story.
A tightrope, Cooper has walked, between being counted and “preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy,” but now that he’s jumped and landed firmly on one side, ending years of speculation, what really will change?
Or what really should change?
When mentioned in articles today and tomorrow, he will be the openly gay reporter—instead of openly gay and reporter, which should be how he’s described, but won’t be described, in mad rushes to get out the news—and his decision to come out, finally, via an e-mail will be critiqued (“What’s the point in making a statement by not making a statement,” someone on Twitter remarked, a few minutes after the news broke, and others began the tired speculation of relationships and secret nude photos and how Cooper likes to have sex).
Cooper will be the top story for a news cycle (should have done it on Friday, when his coming out would have been eclipsed by other stories of divorce, scientology, unwed mothers, and even a tax-related prison sentence), and then he will again be that guy with the show, and with the famous family, and who, with Kathy Griffin, counts down the seconds until the ball drops on December 31.
Which is how things should be. Cooper’s coming out shouldn’t change anything. You may see him used as the new poster boy of gay, and he will be asked to speak at GLBT events, and someone, somewhere, may even ask Cooper to be the marshal of a pride parade, but then someone else will come along, because someone else is always coming along.
And this next someone might suggest that Cooper coming out was the push he—or she—needed, but eventually we won’t need reasons, final or otherwise, to come out, because there will be no coming out.
There will just be, as Cooper wrote about what he has in his life, love and being loved.
Which is a better reason to applaud him. Gay isn’t something to celebrate; love is.
photo / AP