Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Anderson Cooper

It's all over the internet: Anderson Cooper has come out of the closet. The narrative out around Cooper's disclosure is more of the "Anderson finally admits that he's gay" variety, rather than  "Anderson takes a brave step." It is interesting to read some of the reactions to Cooper's announcement.

Some have suggested that coming out is more of a low-key process these days than it used to be. The culture around coming out is more of a "let's just assume that I've always been out" rather than "I've got a big announcement to make." Michelangelo Signorile makes a good case for this. 

Jennifer Vanasco reminds us that the struggle for queer acceptance is not over, and coming out as gay is still a big deal. After all, there are still many people who do not want to give equal status to gay men, and Cooper's coming out is the kind of personal-is-political action that tends to change hearts and minds about gay people. 

I think that one of the reasons that there are so many "it's about time" comments is not just that Cooper's sexual orientation has been an open secret for years. I think it has something to do with the expectation that queer people will come out, that somehow LGBT people owe it to the public to identify themselves as such. I wonder if we are moving in this direction as a society--where being queer is seen as the kind of identity that is expected not to be a big deal. 

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