The big news today is that Anderson Cooper has finally stepped out of the glass closet. While the newsman has never denied his homosexuality, until now he’d never publicly acknowledged it either.
His reasons for staying mum on the subject, despite being out to friends, family, and colleagues, went beyond a basic desire for privacy. Cooper felt that keeping a low profile helped him be a better journalist. As he explains to Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast:
Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist.
Cooper’s increasing visibility as a media personality has decreased his ability to “blend in,” and in his new role as a talk show host he’s a lot less likely to find himself in a war zone. But gay and lesbian journalists reporting in relative anonymity can no doubt relate to Cooper’s reasons for staying silent on the subject.
What do you think? Is it better for journalists to keep quiet on their sexual orientation? Or does staying in the closet, even in a professional context, contribute to the notion that there is something shameful about homosexuality?