“Being born gay is one of the great blessings of my life,” Anderson Cooper proclaimed to a crowd of nearly 6,000 at University of Texas in Arlington on Monday night, according to The Advocate.
Cooper acknowledged different viewpoints on homosexuality, but suggested the "arc of history" was going to take the respectability out of opposition to homosexuality. In the discussion over NFL draft prospect Michael Sam coming out as gay, Cooper compared it to being black or Jewish or Christian. (Video below)
The CNN anchor asserted that the opposition comes from people who "don’t have experience with gay people. We're getting to a time in the United States where nobody can say they don't know somebody who's gay, whether it's a family member or somebody in the public eye ... and I think that has a certain power and a certain impact."
Cooper emphasized that it was "particularly brave" for Sam that he “came out before the NFL draft.” It could affect where he’s drafted, and thus the size of his contract. “You think he’s such a good player, you would think okay, this is not going to have an impact, but I was reading Sports Illustrated today, there were eight people from NFL teams, universally saying things like he's definitely going to drop down in the draft because of this. There's going to be a lot of teams that absolutely will not have him, a lot of players who absolutely will not allow this in the locker room."
He then argued “these were anonymous quotes, but I kept kept taking out the word 'gay,' and inserting the word 'black' or inserting the word 'Christian' or inserting the word 'Jewish.' And thinking, if any one of these people said, you know, 'There's no way any NFL team is ready to have a Jewish player,' you would think, What are you talking about?"
Cooper recalled that sports teams used to have racial barriers, and so will fall barriers based on sexual orientation, he said. "I do think this is part of the arc of history and part of the civil rights movement, and it won’t be 20 years from now as a big a deal, and it’s already not as big a deal as it was five years ago, ten years ago." he added.
He joked that he came out when he decided he wanted to get asked out on more dates. Still, he said, there are some “very determined young ladies.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram added Cooper also talked about how he felt when his father died when he was 10, and later when his brother committed suicide in front of their mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, while Cooper was a senior at Yale.
“Sometimes I wish I had a physical scar so people would see the pain I felt,” Cooper said. “I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera, and it’s not a good feeling.”