July 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM ET
Journalist Anderson Cooper came out as gay on Monday after keeping his sexuality private for years.
"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be," Cooper wrote in an email that he allowed friend Andrew Sullivan to publish at The Daily Beast website. "And I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."
Sullivan wrote that he had asked Cooper to comment on an Entertainment Weekly story that focused on how gays in public life come out in a more restrained way than past announcements. (Remember Ellen DeGeneres' "Yep, I'm Gay" TIME magazine 1997 cover?)
When Cooper responded by confirming his sexuality, he gave Sullivan permission to print the response.
Cooper also wrote that he'd tried to maintain some privacy in his life despite a very public job (and lineage -- his mother is Gloria Vanderbilt), for personal and professional reasons. "Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I've often found myself in some very dangerous places," Cooper wrote. "For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible."
But recent events had him rethinking that decision, he said, writing, "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."
Cooper also wrote that bullying and discrimination against gays encouraged his announcement, saying, "I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible."