I hear scores of straight women mourning.
(Courtesy of cnn.com)
There wouldn't be the online buzz that has now been unleashed by what Anderson actually admitted, what many are saying is an "open secret, anyway."
But it can now be officially said.
Anderson Cooper, CNN reporter and talk show host, son of Gloria Vanderbilt, generally acknowledged as a "looker" who happens to be darned good at what he does, has come out. Finally. With those three words, he has inched the civil rights movement forward:
I am gay.
Just as when Obama finally clinched the presidency (and will hopefully do it again this year), it mattered much more to African Americans, because it is a concrete, real, and tangible demonstration that finally, after all this time, they can now claim that their color is no longer a hindrance to doing anything. Those who know how it is truly like to be judged on the basis of skin color - on an everyday basis - consider Obama's victory symbolic, poetic and powerful.
And when Anderson Cooper finally came out, I heard and read both straight and gay people commenting "as if we didn't know" and "does it really matter?"
Well, does it matter?
Here is where I am coming from.
As someone who has been told that I am evil, that I will amount to nothing worthwhile, that I am "making (my) life difficult", who has been told that I am not worthy to be loved by either God or fellow humans, that I am "choosing to sin" (as if people "chose" to be straight), and that by reaffirming who I am and refusing to cave in to demands that I be "normal", I will be causing the downfall of so-called "traditional values", who has been exposed to absurd portrayals in popular media as fully made-up losers in women's clothing as the only way to "be", and closed off to various job opportunities because I do not make an attempt to hide who I am.
Let me tell you what I think of what Anderson said means.
It matters to me.
It's the reason I prefaced this in my post title: it is an act of courage for Anderson, and those who have reached the career heights that Anderson has, to come out while they are at the top of their game. Saying those three seemingly little, short words carries with it a host, nay, a multitude of questions and fears, and these are concerns that straight people never have to wrestle and contend with by virtue of being the sexual majority.
Will I lose my job over this?
Will people look down on me?
Will I lose my inheritance?
Will straight relatives petition me as "undeserving" of any inheritance rights?
Why can't I stay with my partner of 25 years in the hospital while he is being treated, but his brother who is homophobic, hates him and beat him up, gets to decide on the questions about life-and-death?
What will my friends say behind my back?
Will I still have friends?
What happens to all the legal benefits I have?
Why don't I have the same rights as my heterosexual counterparts?
Will I stunt my own promotion with this admission?
Will somebody beat me up for "failing" to live up to their "religious standard"?
Am I counting the days until someone murders me in the name of their deity?
And among these and other questions, I find this to be at the core of all these:
Can you love me and accept me for who I truly am?
None of these scenarios ever play out in one's mind when a person has to go through the painless admission of saying "I'm straight!"
So let me make it clear, why I seem to be making "a big deal" over what Anderson Cooper has just verbalized, admitted and come out in the open with, on behalf of every gay person who wondered if their family would still love them, if they can ever find love in this life, worried over work and health benefits, and especially on behalf of every gay kid who was bullied, ridiculed, called names and even murdered for being "different", I will state it in unflinchingly clear terms:
It Matters To Me.