After Entertainment Weekly ran the story “The New Art of Coming Out” about gay celebrities who reveal their sexuality to the public in a casual manner, The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan asked journalist Anderson Cooper about his thoughts on the subject. Cooper sent Sullivan an e-mail which he allowed to be shared with Sullivan’s readers.
Cooper wrote, “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. This is distressing because it is simply not true… The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”
The revelation created a stir worldwide, with people posting their reactions to what they called “Anderson’s coming out.”
Inquirer Lifestyle asked people—men and women, straight and gay—to share their thoughts. How did they feel about Cooper’s revelation? And do they think gay men and women need to come out?
“I admired that Anderson came out in writing and not in a big spectacle, like doing it in his talk show. It really showed class. The opportunity for high ratings was there, but he didn’t exploit it. As for the timing, better late than later.” —Jay Gonzales
“Kanya-kanyang trip ’yan. Walang basagan ng trip ng iba, para hindi rin nila basagin ang trip mo!” —Jugs Jugueta
“Yes, I think they should come out but only when they feel comfortable with letting others know. I think it would probably make sense to let those closest to you know first—your family and close friends.” —Agoo Bengzon
“If being gay wasn’t made to be such a big deal, people wouldn’t have to feel bad about themselves and wouldn’t need to stay in the proverbial closet and just be themselves. There wouldn’t be a need to come out at all. They can just be themselves like we all have a right to be.” —Aimee Marcos
“My reaction: Well, finally! It’s always been whispered about. Good to see he finally came out and admitted it. But as for other gays coming out, well, it’s really up to them, especially if they are public figures who would rather keep that info about themselves private. It’s their right to come out or not. Although it’s better to be honest about these things, we also need to take into consideration our conservative culture and oftentimes judgmental nature.” —Joy
“I think gays and lesbians don’t need to come out. Corny and trite as it may seem, but everyone needs to be, not straight or homo, but kind and responsible.” —Abbey Tomas
“I believe that the only person you need to come out to is yourself. Self-acceptance is necessary for a happy life. But you don’t need to announce or explain yourself to other people. I really don’t think an official coming out is needed.” —Sam
“It was very brave of Anderson Cooper to do what he did. I think that gay men and women should come out when they are comfortable and ready. It will benefit them more than the public because it’s so liberating to be comfortable in your own skin.” —Cristalle Henares
“I wish I could be as brave as Anderson. I’m gay, I’ve always been gay but my family doesn’t know. I don’t think my parents will be able to accept it and I worry about hurting my mother. It’s not an easy secret to carry but for now I must keep it. Some of my close friends know and I’m grateful I have them.” —Mel
“It’s a personal choice one must make. Therefore, it’s up to the individual when, why or whether it happens at all. Otherwise, outing will turn into some form of social pressure.” —Millie Dizon
“I think it was brave of Anderson to tell the world that he’s gay. I’m gay. I realized I was gay only when I became an adult. I have a partner, we’re very happy. My friends and family know about me and about us and that’s enough for me. I don’t feel the need to shout it out from the rooftop. As long as the people who matter to me know and accept me, I’m happy.” —John
“The real issue is that people view this action by Cooper as an affirmation of changing times and change can scare some people. The role of LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) has been an important part of open-mindedness in recent times. They have always been movers and shakers in all aspects of modern life. I salute them for being as free as they should be. I really never thought Mr. Cooper was in this closet that we speak of. We just like to wrap our celebrities in exaggerated spectacles. We can learn from this.” —Tuesday Vargas
“It’s about time. What took him so long? And I love him more now. I think gay men and women should come out because it’s way easier and happier to live life outside the closet. The perfect timing is when they feel at ease with themselves. It’s important to be honest to yourself and to your parents and family first before anybody else.” — NJ Torres
“It takes a lot of guts and courage to put everything on the line, to stand up for who you are and broadcast it to the world. I laud Anderson for coming out and giving people the privilege to peek into his personal life. His life as a public figure leaves very little personal space. Opening it up to the public is a big, courageous and selfless act. For someone in his position, who is trusted and looked up to by many, there are so many possible consequences of his decision to come out in a very public way. He may lose some of his followers, but he sure has earned my respect.” —Geepyo
“I think Anderson Cooper came out of the closet gorgeously. He couldn’t have said it any better. I think it really is the prerogative of every fab gay man or woman to come out or not. All gay men and women should wear their rainbow-colored flags proudly, whether they flaunt it like a queen or not. And I hope, one day, it just won’t matter what flag you raise.” —Louie Barretto
“Anderson Cooper’s coming out was no surprise… I guess it’s an open secret. Coming out is a very personal thing. It would be very ideal if anyone who is gay can come out, but there are so many things to consider, especially family and the readiness of one’s self. It should not be misconstrued as being ashamed of one’s sexual orientation. It is all about readiness. I believe all will be done in good time.” —Ruby Gan
“I actually admire Cooper for being honest, real and brave enough to tell everyone the truth about his sexuality. I understand his reason, that it took him a while to finally come out. He is a public figure and in his line of work, being gay is something not everyone can understand.” —Veejay Floresca
“I’m very happy for him. He’s a famous personality and he was able to talk about his sexuality openly. I admire him and his mother, who is also a fashion designer. At the height of his fame, Anderson was able to admit to himself and show millions of people that he’s gay and proud of it. Hindi mahalaga kung tanggapin ka ng tao, ang mahalaga naging totoo ka sa sarili mo. At sa panahon ngayon hindi na mahalaga kung anong kasarian mo, ang mahalaga ngayon kung paano ka lumaban sa araw araw na wala kang inaapakang tao.” —Avel Bacudio
“The decision to come out is a personal journey that cannot be rushed. Eventually, people need to come out because it’s the only way they are going to be happy. The right time is when you feel that your family and friends are ready to accept it. Because the fear of rejection is very real and you don’t want to lose your loved ones, coming out of the closet may not seem worth the risk. But we also forget what we may personally gain, which is openness and freedom to finally express ourselves.” —James
“I applaud his courage in coming out, especially since there is so much potential negative ramifications to his career by doing so. Though I think there is no need for him or for anyone in his position for that matter, to make such a big deal about having to admit to being gay. If we want to be treated as equals, why do we need to come out? You don’t see straight people coming out as straight. I think the more important question to ask is when will the day come that gay people don’t need to come out to be accepted in society? When do we accept the reality of being gay the same way we accept the reality of different skin colors and different races?” —Ricci Chan
“I wasn’t shocked by it. I think he never really had to publicly come out. His family and loved ones probably already knew about his sexuality a long time ago and for some people, that’s what matters most. A gay person should come out, but in his or her own time. Coming out is such a life-changing decision that it has to be done when you and the people around you are ready—not just the person who will come out but the people who matter to him/her as well. Being gay is being happy, and happiness is much more felt when you have people around you to share it with.” —Sadie
“I’m happy for him. As much as I would like to say “it’s about time,” coming out is a very personal thing. In my case, I did it for myself because I felt the need to share my personal growth and trials as a gay man with my family. Your family should really be your primary support group, instead of your usual “secret clique.” When should one come out? When one is ready financially and emotionally. You can never force someone gay to come out when he or she is not ready. But one must come out ultimately, if only to acknowledge who you are as a person, to live life with fewer issues (oh yes, we have enough), or simply, as Anderson said, ‘to be counted.’” —Jayce C. Perlas
“I think his coming out shouldn’t shock the world so much (as a zombie apocalypse probably would). LGBT lifestyles have long been assimilated in our culture and in the corporate workplace, too! This is becoming a cliché but people need to start to have an open mind. This is easier said than done. It all starts with understanding and empathy. Closeted gay men and women go through a lot of difficulties everyday against lifestyle norms and even against religion (I know lots of closeted gay men in Christian churches)! They should stay strong and brace themselves if they choose to come out (I think they should as early as they can). Good communication with their immediate family and peers is the key. It may be difficult and some people could get hurt (like this married gay dad I know). But it’s a steady long shot for acceptance.” —Jesse Ramon Boga
“I don’t know much about the guy, but it’s a brave and inspiring move. Yes, you should come out if everyone around you, especially your family, presumes you’re going to get married to the opposite sex, when deep inside you know that you’re not. Come out as early as possible. Usually the first person you can talk about this with is your mother. I have this strong feeling that mothers already know what’s going on… Start with your own family, then friends, then with anyone you need to share it with. Once that’s managed, everyone else is irrelevant.” — Ed
All I thought was “duh” and “finally,” because he’s always been too good to be straight. My gaydar’s eternally busted but I kinda always knew he was into men. I think gay people should come out because it’s all for the best, even if it’s hard and a bit of a rocky road at first. It helps others deal with you in a more honest and hopefully sensitive way. However, I believe there’s no just one way of doing so; it depends on who you’re coming out to. And coming out is a never-ending process. You can hold a presscon or release an official statement, but not everyone will get to attend or read that.” —Mark Sablan
“Since we live in a far-from-perfect society, it is a brave and much-needed statement when celebrities come out. Because they become role models for people who are forced to live in shame or to keep secret their sexuality. Do all homosexuals have to come out? No. It is their choice. All I can say is that each and everyone of us has the right to freedom of expression, the right to be treated equally, and the right to love and be loved and live the life we were meant to live.” —Deng Garcia
If coming out will make them happy, why not? However, some societies are not as tolerant of the LGBT community as others and there are still nations that consider homosexuality a crime… However, if a person wants to come out, it should be out of his/her own free will and he/she knows the consequences. I think the worst thing is to be outed publicly, forcing a person to come out of the closet prematurely.” —Kemp Ethier
“I admire him for his courage and honesty. Many gay people are coming out these days because they see icons or inspiration, because many gay people are successful and excelling in their fields. I don’t think gay men and women need to come out just because others are pressuring them. I believe it is the decision of the concerned person if he/she wants to come out or not. For me, it is okay to be gay as long as you are a God-fearing and law-abiding person.” —Auster Perez
“I was happy for Anderson. I can attest that coming out lifts a weight off your shoulders and really does free you. And from a big-picture perspective, it’s a significant event because he is an upstanding, well-respected human being who is highly regarded in his field and seen as one of the nicest people around. Having him out and proud gives gay kids another positive role model, and makes the bigots who insist that gays are nothing but perverts and sexual deviants look even more out of touch than they already are.
Do gay men and women need to come out? Absolutely. Being in the closet is tacit acknowledgment that being gay is something we should hide. The homophobes would love it if we just disappeared and never reminded them that we exist. It’s when we stand up for ourselves that we demand respect, not when we keep our heads down. People forget that the Stonewall Riots, which marked the beginning of the struggle for Gay Rights, wasn’t started by the “straight-acting” gays, but by Drag Queens.
It’s easy to hate when it’s a group of people that you don’t know. It becomes much harder to discriminate against someone if it’s a brother, a sister, a parent, a best friend, a trusted coworker, or a boss.
Being in the closet, especially in the face of people who are openly homophobic, means you are giving them a free pass to do so without making them come to terms with the repercussions of their hatred. We may not be able to change their minds, but we damn well shouldn’t have to make it easy for them.
People need to come out at their own pace, and on their own terms. It’s a deeply personal experience, and it’s different for every person. In some places, coming out could literally mean losing your life. If you live in a household where you know for sure that being out would endanger your safety, then lay low, wait until you can leave that situation behind, and don’t look back. Ultimately, it’s their loss, not yours, for choosing to reject a relationship with you. If you can come out, you should. It’s BECAUSE there is prejudice and bigotry that it’s so important that the ones who are in a position to come out should do so.” —Ian Carandang