Dear Anderson Cooper –
A year ago tomorrow, I posted this rather mean letter to you, imploring you to come out as a gay man, and condemning you for not having done so earlier. My reasons for doing so, and the points I made then, are still relevant and valid, but calling you out by name was not the best way to do it. For that I must apologize, and it’s going to be a little awkward and uncomfortable, but you deserve it. (When you’re right for insufferably 99% of the time, an apology is not something that comes easily.)
Looking back at that letter, I see now that I was wrong in singling you out. When so much is made of bullying, how could I act as such a bully myself? Forcing you to come out was its own act of bullying. I realize now that it’s never right to force someone to come to terms with something as serious and important as their sexuality before they’re ready. Everyone – gay or straight – has the right to live their life as openly or as privately as they wish to do so, and the choice to be open or closeted is entirely up to them. The rite of passage that comprises coming out is different for each of us, and especially different for those in the public eye. Every person does it in their own way, and everyone should have the option of doing it in the safest and most comfortable manner for them.
In the year since I wrote that letter, you came out rather gracefully and powerfully – not in a hyped-up manner, but as a matter-of-fact, a simple statement of truth. In doing so, you helped remove the inferred aspect that something was wrong with being gay. There is no way of knowing how much that may have helped someone, but I am sure it has.
And so Anderson, I am sorry. You had to do it in your own time, in the same way that each of us has to do it. It wasn’t fair of me to call you out, it wasn’t right for anyone to do that. The shame is that there are people who still think there is something wrong with being gay. I have to believe in the idea that if we were all to be out and openly gay, some of that stigma would go away.
As I watched the opening of the second season of your talk show, you already seemed happier, more at-ease, more free. Maybe that’s just projection, maybe that’s just what I want to believe, and though I don’t know you personally, I do feel that it has made a difference – if not in your own life, then in some of ours. Thank you for being so brave. Thank you for showing us who you really are. And thank you for doing it in your own way, on your own terms, and reminding me that some things are still sacred, and some people still noble.Back to Blog