As you probably already know by now—since this has been breaking news since it came out at 11:30 this morning—Anderson Cooper is in fact gay. His good friend, Andrew Sullivan, reveals his sexual identity in Cooper’s email to him which he gave him permission to share publicly. Everyone is talking about it and some activists like Shelby Knox reminds us that: “As we discuss this, remember that visibility is important but some people can’t ‘come out’ for lots of reasons. That makes them no less gay or deserving of respect or support. Each person chooses how/when/if/to whom to come out and all processes deserve respect and love!” Cooper also talked about not revealing his identity due to concerns when he was a reporter in war zones.
It reminded me of when I was in a gay-straight theater group in my early twenties and early on I came out as straight to the group. Since everyone else was presumably gay, I felt obliged to be honest and open with the group and share my true identity in this non-mainstream context. It was very interesting to notice my feelings of self-consciousness and awkwardness and fear of how they might take it—even if I knew that they were a welcoming, open group. It’s always good for us to take a look at where we are in oppressor roles (for me, straight, US’er, able-bodied, middle class) and not just where we are oppressed (female, artist, immigrant, woman of color) all the time.