CNN's Anderson Cooper came out yesterday in an interview to Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. He says he still wants some semblance of personal space, but that he is happy and unashamed of being gay.
He follows plenty of high-profile celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Ricky Martin who have come out. Do celebrities have a responsibility to cash in on their fame to become role models for a younger generation who might be afraid to come out? Wade Davis, a former NFL player who recently came out, shares his thoughts.
"There's this sense of invisibility that gay people live under, and the idea of coming out allows us to be seen," Davis says. "I think it was great that Anderson Cooper came out. I was so very proud that he made it known that he is gay."
However, Davis believes that making one's sexuality public is by no means required of anyone. "It is great for someone of Ellen's or Anderson Cooper to own the fact that they are gay, because they shouldn't feel obligated. Because what if they're not ready?"
"There is definitely a sense of vulnerability that exists when you come out," Davis says. "[Whether it is a] celebrity or a regular person, they should never feel obligated to have to do anything."
In his email to Sullivan, Cooper writes about how he has recently became worried that his practice of not addressing his sexuality publicly was being taken as a sign that he was hiding something. He gives a reason for his silence on the topic: "I've always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, [and] who they love should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn't matter."
“It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something — something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed, or even afraid," Cooper writes. "This is distressing because it is simply not true. I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible.”