The online news portal of TV5
Now if it were Mike Enriquez who came out and admitted that he was a pink sister, I would have been beyond shock, but since it was Anderson Cooper, I sort of just leaned back and picked at my cuticles.
Reports of Cooper’s admission say that the TV host’s sexual orientation was the worst-kept secret in the Big Apple, which isn’t to say that what goes down in the New York media scene has ripple effects in Manila, but I got a vibration about Cooper’s truth when he launched his eponymous morning talk show.
I mean, this was the go-to guy whose business was keeping people honest and now here he was seriously encroaching on Tyra Banks territory. On his show, there was not a limp wrist to be seen or an overly sibilant s to be heard, but Cooper proved to be too good at being a chatty Andy and I feared the day that I would see him with his sweater sleeves tied in front of the chest à la Balanchine. Now that he’s come forward and proudly announced that he was born that way, well, more power to him.
Cooper says that he was reticent about his sexuality for personal and professional reasons, and rightly so for the latter, since first, as a journalist, he has to cover the news in some countries where homosexuality is a crime, and for his and his crew’s safety, he has to be discreet; second, he covers the news, so that means he isn’t the story. By nature, too, he was a private person, which is difficult for someone in the public eye, but basically, he thought -- and I quite agree -- it was nobody else’s business.
When Barbara Walters pointedly addressed the gay question to Ricky Martin, it wasn’t because she had a personal stake in his well-being -- it was because she wanted the ratings, however much she would later say that she regretted asking. (Really, dear, I am gratified to see you learning life lessons at the expense of other people.)
His reserve, however, as Cooper would point out, led some to believe that he was living in shame or fear, which was never the case. That, plus the fact that he realized that his coming out might be beneficial in the crusade against teen bullying, were what convinced him that being forthcoming could actually do some good.
I think so, too, but for a different reason. Here was a famous person choosing to come out whose career choice was not confected from dreams involving tulle or mascara, in other words, a different kind of role model for young gays. Anderson Cooper presents an unusual image that is yards different from the stereotypes propagated by media about gay people, that they all want to be designers or interior decorators or make-up artists, or worse, the butt of gags on puerile television shows. Not that these aspirations are bad, except that somehow, I refuse to believe that all gay men are inexorably drawn to callings involving the beautification of exteriors.
For God’s sake, gays -- and lesbians -- are dying on the battlefield without being able to be open about who they are to their families and to their country, yet there are those who would deny them the right to defend their country on the notion that gays would swoon at the sight of khaki. Fashion and interior design may be respectable professions, but they are not always respected.
One of the funnier sidebars of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment involved my law school classmate, Court Administrator Midas Marquez, and a displaced microphone. Video of the incident shows Midas’s reaction to be priceless but as soon as the footage aired, samizdat inquiries via SMS circulated swiftly and on the Internet, uniformly asking what do you think?
Personally, I wouldn’t know and, fact is, I doubt if he is, and furthermore, I really couldn’t give a shit, but the surprising reaction from some gay friends was that, assuming that the Court Administrator was indeed ehem, they were proud to claim him because, presumably, here was one of their own attaining a position of great responsibility and renown, in government, no less. Not one to worry over hemlines, this one. It quickly dawned on me that gay people need role models, at least of perceived substance and prestige, that the current icons of fashion and entertainment have failed to provide. In other words, gay people need role models who rightly belong in the front pages, not the fashion or gossip columns.
Who do we have to look forward to here who will bravely own up to his or her truth? The actor formerly known as Rustom Padilla did so, but that was ages ago. Isn’t there anyone man enough to come clean and out?