First, it was television reporter Anderson Cooper. Now, it’s U.S. women’s soccer player, midfielder Megan Rapinoe. What do they have in common? They’re in the public limelight, though in different careers. They’re both gay. And they both felt the timing was right to set the record straight, so to speak.
Rapinoe’s disclosure came in the form of an interview with Out Magazine, where she explained her reasons for going public with her sexuality. Sports is still generally homophobic, she is quoted as saying, and given that and the timing of the summer Olympics in London and all the exposure the athletes are getting, she felt the time was right to just come out and say it. In the interview, she says no one ever asked her directly. “I think they were trying to be respectful and that it’s my job to say, ‘I’m gay.’ Which I am. For the record: I am gay.” As a role model, she is hoping that her candor will have a positive effect on tolerance and equality.
The article came out just after Anderson Cooper did. The CNN anchor and talk show host came out in an email exchange with his friend Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast, which Sullivan then published, with Cooper’s permission. In the email, Cooper explains his reasons for not making his sexuality public before now, highlighting how he viewed his job as a journalist to stay unbiased and impartial and adding that he prefers to stick to the job of telling other people’s stories and not his own.
But Cooper now feels that such trends as gay bullying have indicated that his professional principles are outweighed by the value of taking a stand.
Cooper and Rapinoe are part of what is considered the new trend in coming out. Rather than seeking fanfare and banner headlines, public personae are simply dropping the information into interviews and shrugging their shoulders afterward.