If you thought Anderson Cooper had shifted on whether all famous LGBT people should come out of the closet since deciding to come out himself, think again. Last night on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, he stated in no uncertain terms that it’s totally okay for public figures to hide their sexuality like a shameful secret forever.
When asked by Andy Cohen, who is openly gay himself, whether his thoughts on a celebrity’s obligation to come out had changed since his own public declaration of homosexuality, everyone’s favorite silver fox said this:
I mean look, it’s a personal decision that everyone has to make for their own reasons. Obviously, I think we’re all better off with greater visibility, so I would encourage people to do what they’re comfortable with, but no, my opinion hasn’t changed. Look, I’m pretty understanding of where people are at, and people are at different places in their lives. But there’s a bunch of people whom I’m surprised have not been more forward, and you know given their position and the extent to which they’re forward about other aspects about their lives.
“Maybe you should look in the camera and say their names,” fellow guest Wendi McLendon-Covey suggested, eliciting a lovely Andersonian giggle. “We’re outing people tonight!” added Cohen.
This was all lots of fun, but let’s look at what Anderson actually said. He, like most people who cares about gay rights, thinks “we” (who is we??) are “better off with greater visibility,” but he still thinks a gay celebrity journalist’s primary obligation is to him or herself, and not to some larger concept of gay solidarity. That said, there are a lot of people who should seriously consider it, especially considering how open they are about other parts of their lives, hint hint, hypocrites!
While I would very much like it if Andie got all militant and started talking about the obligations of powerful individuals to advance the rights of a group, or even the right of the general public to know information that is generally confined to small select groups of special people, this is the most mischievous answer we are ever going to get from him, so I’ll take it. But if my TV boyfriend ever changes his mind about outing his friends, I would like him to know that I am here for him, and I’m a very good listener.