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American Television, News  
 
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Although Cooper consistently spoke out in favor of fairness and equal rights, and seemed clearly to be living the life of an openly gay man, for years he resisted calls for him to make a public statement regarding his sexuality, saying that he did not want to be the focus of news stories and that he preferred to stay in the background.

Finally, however, in an email to Andrew Sullivan, published on July 1, 2012, Cooper confirmed the rumors. "The fact is," he wrote, "I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."

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The revelation came as a result of Sullivan asking Cooper for feedback on a story in Entertainment Weekly about gay people in public life who come out in a matter-of-fact way.

In response, Cooper explained that he has attempted to maintain some level of privacy for both 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. 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."

But, Cooper continued, "I've begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. 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."

He also noted that there is value in being visible. "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. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand."

After disavowing any intention of becoming an activist, he declared forthrightly that he is gay, happy, proud, and that "I love, and I am loved."

If Anderson Cooper is the most prominent out journalist, Robin Roberts (b. 1960) is probably the best-loved. On December 29, 2013, the Good Morning America co-host came out in an end-of-year Facebook message that casually included her longtime partner Amber Laign among those who helped her through a trying year during which she recovered from chemotherapy and a blood marrow transplant. In her first public acknowledgment of her ten-year relationship with Laign, Roberts expressed gratitude to all who supported her in her battle against the blood disorder that threatened her life.

Roberts' burying what she certainly knew would make big news across the country in the middle of the message is typical of the recent practice of closeted celebrities choosing to come out in a very low-key manner in which the information is presented matter-of-factly. Rather than calling attention to itself, the fact that Roberts has a longtime girlfriend is presented simply and straightforwardly as one of many relationships that she enjoys.

Roberts did not give her partner's last name, but media outlets quickly identified her as Amber Laign, a licensed massage therapist from the San Francisco Bay area who has a private practice specializing in patients recovering from injuries.

Roberts' sexual orientation was something of an open secret. It was known to friends and family and associates and suspected by many of her viewers and fans. Nevertheless, her coming out was significant because Roberts is among the most beloved public figures in America.

Long admired for her intelligence and grace and good humor, she attracted the respect and deep affection of millions as a result of the courage she exhibited during her well-publicized illness.

A native of Pass Christian, Mississippi, one of four children of a Tuskegee airman and his wife, Roberts grew up in a close-knit and high-achieving family. She was an outstanding basketball player at Southeastern Louisiana University, where she received a degree in communications. After college, she pursued a career as a sports reporter and anchor at local television stations in Hattiesburg, Biloxi, Nashville, and Atlanta.

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