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Signorile on Anderson Cooper's coming out

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Mike Signorile:
s_bukley /
I've chatted with Anderson Cooper over the past few years, mostly at the gym, sometimes passing on gay-related stories I've focused on, mostly about homophobia experienced by young LGBT people. I've also appeared on AC 360. I've found him to be dedicated and sincere in his focus on gay issues, particularly as they relate to young people. I'm sure it's been tough for him -- being sincere to the issues he's concerned about but keeping mum about this part of himself, seeming insincere to those very same young people he cared about. There are those who are saying it's "no big deal," or "so what?" or "who cares?" or just offering a big yawn. But, in this time of intense bullying in schools and too many reports of teen suicides, they just don't get how important it is for young gay people to know every single person in the public eye who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

And the glass closet -- those closets of people like Anderson, who have been known of and thought of as gay, but have not said it -- can perhaps be even more damaging than closets that are less transparent. A mother of a gay son who called my radio program yesterday explained that she was so ecstatic that Cooper was now out because her young son certainly was able to glean, like many others, that Anderson was gay, but also gleaned that he was likely afraid of being open. And that, she said, was a bad message for her son. But seeing Anderson out and proud, she said, tells her son that there is nothing to fear.

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