At Tiger Beatdown, the endlessly excellent Emmy has a great post about why it’s really not helpful or progressive or cool when straight people get snarky about Anderson Cooper coming out. “Many of the reactions from heterosexual progressives that I observed around social media in response were, to be blunt, really fucking annoying and entitled,” Emmy writes. “The salacious shock, the studied boredom and cynicism, the jokes, the questions about why he took so long or why he needed to come out at all.”
Let Emmy break it down for you:
Even now, Americans like Mister Cooper still live in a country where there is no national anti-discrimination bill for such things as employment and housing. There are still parts of the country where it is completely legal to sack someone for being GLBT, or to refuse them housing, where parents lose custody of their children after coming out. Even in areas where there are local anti-discrimination laws, these are often still ineffective – it’s easy enough for a bigot to discriminate without being caught.
So there’s a good reason why so many people in the public eye wait until after their career is largely over–because they may well lose their careers, or part of them. It will cost them, in their career or their relationships. Or because they fear that they will. And that is a fear that no straight person ever faces for their heterosexuality.
So when heterosexuals ask, “Why did it take so long for him to come out,” I reply with a question of my own: “why did it take you so long to make him feel safe enough to do so?”
Go read the whole thing: it’s really smart, and delves into some theory, too.