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Out Spots Anderson Cooper in the Glass Closet

Out_maycoverAnderson Cooper sits at #2 among a list of America's most influential gay men and women in Out magazine's "Power 50". The list, in their May issue, is based on cultural resonance, political influence, media profile, and wealth. Jodie Foster sits at #43.

A couple of interesting choices, given the fact that neither have, to my knowledge, publicly come out.

Thus, Cooper and Foster are also given the cover treatment and the up and down in a Michael Musto cover story which looks at celebrities and public figures who live in the "glass closet".

Says Musto: "It’s true that stars are free to put up whatever walls they want in order to maintain boundaries with the public. But even at their most controlling, straight stars never seem to leave out the fact that they’re straight in interviews. Whenever a subject tells me, ‘I won’t discuss who I’m dating’ or ‘I resent labels,’ I generally know not so much that they’re passionate about privacy but that they’re gay gay, gay."

UPDATE: You can read who else made Out's "Power 50" after the jump, and read the full "Glass Closet" article online at Out.

1. David Geffen
2. Anderson Cooper
3. Ellen DeGeneres
4. Tim Gill
5. Barney Frank
6. Rosie O’Donnell
7. The New York Times Gay Mafia: Richard Berke, Ben Brantley, Frank Bruni, Stuart Elliott, Adam Nagourney, Stefano Tonchi, and Eric Wilson
8. Marc Jacobs
9. Andrew Tobias
10. Brian Graden
11. Jann Wenner
12. Andrew Sullivan
13. Suze Orman
14. Joe Solmonese
15. Fred Hochberg
16. Christine Quinn
17. Perez Hilton
18. Scott Rudin
19. John Aravosis
20. Sheila Kuehl
21. James B. Stewart
22. Nick Denton
23. Tom Ford
24. Nate Berkus
25. Adam Moss
26. Jim Nelson
27. Lorri L. Jean
28. Adam Rose
29. Annie Leibovitz
30. Simon Halls and Stephen Huvane
31. Bryan Lourd
32. Bryan Singer
33. Jonathan Burnham
34. Brian Swardstrom
35. Robert Greenblatt
36. Chi Chi LaRue
37. Dan Mathews
38. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan
39. Ingrid Sischy
40. Marc Cherry
41. Carolyn Strauss
42. Irshad Manji
43. Jodie Foster
44. Christine Vachon
45. André Leon Talley
46. Hilary Rosen
47. Matthew Marks
48. Benny Medina
49. Mitchell Gold
50. David Kuhn

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  1. OK, JT, somewhat indignant but not so indignant to want to potentially invite an internet stalker or some deranged jack ass who'd think it would be fun to harrass me. Too many times have I heard of the difficulties people have had and I refuse to actively go there. But at least I use my real first name and last initial and a real email address that I check everyday. So while partially indignant I will only partially identify myself. BTW, no one who knows me for more than a week does not know that I am gay and I am in a profession where being gay can be a problem. I've chosen to be honest, not a sell out. I'd rather be open and honest and risk my career than live a lie or be forced to tell a lie.

    Posted by: Will T | Apr 4, 2007 9:16:13 AM

  2. As a UK resident, I have not had the opportunity to peruse this esteemed publication. However, I thought the whole point of influence as a gay person is that your gayness is known and that therefore your ability to influence isn't conditional upon your staying in the closet.

    They should stick to lsting those who are out otherwise the whole thing becomes yet another futile speculation/outing fest....In any event, let's face it, it's a pretty pointless exercise in the first place...

    Posted by: atheist | Apr 4, 2007 9:33:40 AM

  3. ...Nate Berkus was essentially forced out of the closet after losing his partner in the Indian Ocean tsunami; if it weren't for that extremely unfortunate event, I'm not sure he *would have* stepped out. No doubt, the loyal purse strings of the Oprah audience were holding him back...

    Posted by: midnight lounge | Apr 4, 2007 10:06:15 AM

  4. It never ceases to amaze me that political conservatives (Matthew Schooler - my friend, and Cyd Ziegler) use their real names. I've used my last name (Stout) on several Towleroad postings--I stopped because I was posting from work (big no-no) and I was on the "watch list."

    There are many closets, dear hearts, and we ALL select which ones we're going to close ourselves in depending on the circumstances: some to protect spouses, children, or pets from stalkers; some to keep our names clear for the top secret security clearances we have; some to keep the perv in the next cubicle from constantly dropping his pencil. It is possible that gay men and women who are famous but prefer not to be openly gay could do much good for society if they were "out." It is also possible that they could become "famous 'gay' people" and would no longer be treated as famous except with the appendant 'gay.' I don't doubt that many men want Mr. Cooper to come out simply to titillate. Others, I'm sure, think that he could do good from his lofty position in TV news. However, the choices and the situational risks in which closets he or Ms. Foster or any other person are in are theirs alone to weigh.

    Will T, I am NOT passing any sort of judgement on you or anyone else regarding how you post. I respect those of us who elect to use pen names or pseudonyms (reminiscent of CB handles). That's a choice we make to remain in a particular type of closet because of risks that have been weighed. If my earlier post is interpreted as indignant, it's not meant to be.

    Posted by: JT | Apr 4, 2007 10:47:22 AM

  5. I guess black, Asian & Latino homosexuals must be something other than "gay" 'cause only two made the list, and I aint sure what they call themselves. And y'all wonder why we have these separate black gay pride events all over the place, which are just as silly as the white ones.

    Yeah, I took my "evil queen" pill this morning--just couldn't drink it down with 's a work day.

    Posted by: Derrick from PHilly | Apr 4, 2007 10:48:12 AM

  6. Derrick, you can't take lists like this seriously.  Magazines live and die on advertising.  They have to keep it light and frothy.  

    It's precisely because Jody Foster and Anderson Cooper have no real power that they're on the cover.  And because Congressman David Dreier and Barry Diller are very powerful, they're not on the list.  

    The editors of New York magazine (#25) and GQ (#26) are on the list.  Sure, they're gay males, but they're hardly powerful in "America."  What has either New York or GQ published in the past decade that really accomplished anything, other than selling advertising and helping its readers with style tips and gabbing about trends that may or not materialize?  Nothing.  They're both good magazines.  But they report trends, they don't set trends, and the really important thing they do is host advertising. What power does Marc Jacobs (#8) have except to give Out advertising?  Everyone knows that designers don't set trends anymore, so why is a designer so high on this list?

    Call me cynical, but I see these lists as a way for editors to suck up to other more powerful media folk.  There are powerful non-white gays in America, but they can't help Out editors down the road, so they'll never make the cut.  Besides, who wants to read about boring grassroutes leaders who actually do substantive things for gays when, hey, the editor of a New York listings magazine is gay!  (This week's cover story: "Office Life: Do you have to be a jerk to succeed?")

    Posted by: SGR | Apr 4, 2007 11:41:18 AM

  7. JT, you are seriously comparing apples and oranges here my friend. There may be a point to be made against "outing" but your example is contrived and doesn’t seem irrelevant.

    Here are a few apples/apples questions to consider:

    1) Is there a difference between "reporting", "speculating" and "outing"?

    2) Why do we call "reporting" on the lives of gay celebrities "outing" while we call the "outing" of straight celebrities (when we report on their relationships, their private lives, their arrests, their cheating) "reporting"?

    3) Is there not a certain amount of residual homophobia evident in how gay people still seem to believe that being called gay "takes a celebrity down a notch" or when we use words like "accusation" and "accused" to refer to a statement that someone is gay and when use phrases like "vicious gossip" to describe speculation about a person's sexual orientation? I think so.

    and finally:

    4) Do we believe that gay CELEBRITIES have a special right to privacy that isn’t afforded to straight celebrities? Why are we fine with intentionally dishonest reports about a gay male celebrity's latest passionate affair with the next hot big boobed beard but then we go absolutely apoplectic when someone has the audacity to report on the sighting of a gay celebrity with his real love interest? Has anyone here who intends to contact Out magazine over this ever contacted Entertainment Tonight, People Magazine, The National Enquirer or ANY other publication to complain about their reporting on the “private” lives of straight celebrities?

    Is it not obvious to everyone that "celebrity privacy" is an oxymoron. Is it not clear to EVERYONE who PERSUES celebrity and public adoration that they, like EVERY other celebrity THROUGHOUT HISTORY, will have to sacrifice a great deal of privacy to be a celebrity? This seems to be a big case of wanting one’s cake and eating it too. People want to be adored and have people WANT TO want to know everything about them; they just don’t want them to actually want to know everything about them.

    I'm not endorsing vicious, bitter outing of ANYONE. I'm just trying to point out that we in the gay community seem to have one set of standards for ourselves and another set for straight people. We get angry when straight people treat us with different standards of what is acceptable and what isn’t, but we seem not to notice when we do the same to ourselves.

    I don't have a problem with Cooper and Foster being on the list. That seems completely appropriate to me (even though many of the others seem questionable). Where I DO take exception to Out is with the cover picture. In my opinion it was the COVER that took a legitimate story and gave it the unsavory appearance that the magazine was trying to be clever with their, not so subtle, editorializing and that is where, in my opinion, they went from "reporting" to "outing". It was unnecessary and distracting.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 12:17:29 PM

  8. correction:

    ...doesn't seem RELEVANT...

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 12:21:41 PM

  9. And RB, another dear friend, I take exception to a couple of things in your comment as well, though I'll spare everyone here another one of my overly long, rambling responses.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 12:31:16 PM

  10. [post deleted - commenter banned]

    Posted by: sloppyseconds | Apr 4, 2007 12:41:23 PM

  11. Everyone PLEASE ignore the flame bomb thrown by the obvious troll SLOPPYSECONDS.

    Rather than feeding the troll consider going to the "send a tip" link at the top of the page and report him/her to Andy.

    Once this is brought to his attention Andy will deal with it quickly and appropriately.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 12:54:31 PM

  12. The vile language above is unacceptable.

    Posted by: Jack! | Apr 4, 2007 1:15:51 PM

  13. OK, Perez Hilton Is A Fat Pig Not Worry To Be on Any List Other Than My Shit List! And What About Barry Manilow????? That Queen Has Been In The Closet Soooo Long He Has Become A Garment Bag!!!! And Out The Fact That He Is Also HIV Positive Tooo.

    Posted by: NancyDrew | Apr 4, 2007 1:18:22 PM

  14. i still dont understand the point of outing people who obviously dont feel that part of their lives should be the business of others.

    Posted by: Jamie | Apr 4, 2007 1:33:31 PM

  15. We've all had these conversations many times before. The point of not outing someone is that such information can do them real harm, which isn't the case when "outing" a straight couple. The term is now used in other contexts, such as "outing" of an undercover CIA agent or the "outing" of news sources. Now, would a responsible journalist hand out the phone numbers of their sources? Bank account numbers? Social Security numbers? Certain information, when made public, can cause real harm. Now, if you the most powerful gay man or women in America, outing you is unlikely to do any harm, but such considerations must be made.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 4, 2007 1:53:11 PM

  16. I understand your point ANON. On the surface things seem so "cut and dry" but I often find that even the most seemingly "cut and dry" issues are actually much more complex than one might imagine. I always try to delve beneath the "cut and dry" and beneath the "popular" or "traditional" assumptions to consider some of the nuances and complexities of an issue that many people choose to ignore.

    For example I hear "outing" being discussed as a "cut and dry" issue from BOTH sides of the debate. I just don't think it is as simple as that.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 2:47:27 PM

  17. I will preface this by saying I am straight, not to say that I am superior but to defer my opinion to yours because I don't know what you've experienced, and so what I think may not apply to the real world.

    As a big supporter of the LGBTQ community and based off of posts here, coming out sounds like a potentially painful thing to do. My question is--why do you have to do it? I certainly don't mean stay in the closet, but I don't have to declare my heterosexuality, why should you be forced to declare your homosexuality? Reichen questioned Perez's "gayness" based on the lack of a boyfriend. OK then, can't we determine a person's sexual preference this way, instead of demanding everyone to make a public announcement? Photos of Jodie Foster with her partner are just as much of a declaration as her calling up CNN to announce that she's gay. Perhaps this is ignorant thinking, but I don't need you to tell me you're gay or straight or bi or MTF or whatever, I can just as likely pick that up in getting to know you. I hope I didn't offend anyone because that really wasn't my intention.

    Posted by: Kat | Apr 4, 2007 2:54:51 PM

  18. I will preface this by saying I am straight, not to say that I am superior but to defer my opinion to yours because I don't know what you've experienced, and so what I think may not apply to the real world.

    As a big supporter of the LGBTQ community and based off of posts here, coming out sounds like a potentially painful thing to do. My question is--why do you have to do it? I certainly don't mean stay in the closet, but I don't have to declare my heterosexuality, why should you be forced to declare your homosexuality? Reichen questioned Perez's "gayness" based on the lack of a boyfriend. OK then, can't we determine a person's sexual preference this way, instead of demanding everyone to make a public announcement? Photos of Jodie Foster with her partner are just as much of a declaration as her calling up CNN to announce that she's gay. Perhaps this is ignorant thinking, but I don't need you to tell me you're gay or straight or bi or MTF or whatever, I can just as likely pick that up in getting to know you. I hope I didn't offend anyone because that really wasn't my intention.

    Posted by: Kat | Apr 4, 2007 2:55:55 PM

  19. Andre Leon Talley is GAY?

    Posted by: Helena Handbasket | Apr 4, 2007 3:40:21 PM

  20. Zeke: Well, sir, you've apparently not read all the posts on this thread or the other threads dealing with famous people being out of the closet. I stand by what I said and its relevance.

    The "apples" that you've imported to the thread are really more like pears...distantly related.

    Posted by: JT | Apr 4, 2007 4:53:54 PM

  21. Andre Leon Talley is gay.

    Posted by: Jack! | Apr 4, 2007 5:22:49 PM

  22. KAT, those are good and reasonable questions asked in a sincere and thoughtful way. I don’t think anyone here will take offence or attack you. I certainly hope they won’t.

    I actually wrote out one of my novels to respond to your question but for everyone’s sake I’m going to give you the Zeke’s Notes version of my answer. It’s still long but trust me it is condensed.

    First, gay kids, even in today’s environment where there are out and proud public figures, still kill themselves in extraordinarily high proportions because they feel scared, ALONE and hopeless in a world where gays are widely ridiculed, hated, oppressed and assaulted. If gay people aren’t out and vocal who do kids, who fear that they are the only gay on the planet, look up to for hope and guidance and how do they learn that they are not alone?

    Secondly, GLBT people, unlike straight people, are still VERY much an oppressed and targeted community. How can we fight injustices against us, as GLBT people, on a national scale, strictly as individuals who only express our sexuality to close friends and family through unspoken clues? Sure we can, and many do, hide our orientation and go to great lengths to deny our homosexuality, in hopes of getting the approval of friends, family, church, neighbors (and from society in general) but the price of such approval is usually too high for the soul to pay and after years of misery and struggle they finally face the fact that their worst fear (coming out) turned out to be their ONLY salvation.

    Finally, you said, “I don’t have to declare my heterosexuality”. Even though I realize it wasn’t your intent, I have to say that that sounds a lot like, “straight people don’t go around telling people that they are straight and forcing it down everyone’s throat” that we hear so often from gay and straight people alike. My only response to that is: ON WHAT PLANET? Straight people are walking, talking billboards of their sexuality; they just don’t realize it because it is “normal” to express heterosexuality and heterosexual love, passion, lust and sex freely and openly. From girlfriend/spouse/family pictures in offices, to marriage ceremonies and wedding rings, to public displays of affection (whether appropriate or inappropriate), to open discussions about sex/romance/attraction etc (whether appropriate or inappropriate); straight people live in a world and take for granted a life of free expression that gay people can’t even imagine.

    When there is no more stigma to being gay than there is to being straight, and when there is no more fear of homosexuality and homosexuals, and when there is no more disadvantage to being gay, then there will be no need for the closet, no need for “coming out” and no need for a “gay community”.

    That is why it is important that we openly identify as gay and that is why we MUST talk about it. As with any minority struggle, there is strength in numbers. We can’t organize and we can’t fight as a community if we don’t know who we are.

    I think it’s the same reason that Christians put fish signs and crosses on their bumpers. People want to know that there are other people like them and that there are other people with whom they share common needs, desires and goals. This is especially true among oppressed minorities.

    I find it refreshing that a straight person would be interested in such things and would ask such thoughtful questions. That is a REAL sign of progress.

    Hopefully my response will be helpful to you.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 5:24:57 PM

  23. KAT: I really think that Zeke hit the nail on the head: In the world at large, the assumption is that a person is straight and everything is framed around that assumption: an example-my hearthmate and I celebrated our anniversary. I stopped in a local florist to pick up a bouquet. When I picked up an anniversary card, the clerked asked how many years. I told her. Then she asked if we were going to this point everything was in the plural. When I said that we were staying home she asked: "So are you going to cook or is she?" response: "'He' and I'm cooking." We're having gutters put up. We have to be aware that there are contractors who will not work for gay people...Andy's had boucoup postings about people who've been refused service. When Zeke had emergency surgery recently, the assumption at the hospital was that he had a wife looking after the kids...not a husband. When my doctor left town recently, I was faced with the prospect of finding another family who is not prejudicial against gay people. Yes, sir, being out--not just coming out--is often fraught with difficulty, pain, and myriad quirks that straight people can't imagine.

    For me, the solution is to flip the situation and to assume that everyone is gay until they come out as straight. (OK, that's a BIT of an exaggeration).

    A final note: there are two groups of people against whom it is not only legal (in most states) but encouraged to discriminate: homosexuals and smokers. I quit smoking but I sure as hell ain't going to quit the other!

    Posted by: JT | Apr 4, 2007 5:49:45 PM

  24. JT, you are absolutely right my friend. In my defense, my response to you was based entirely on your original comment:

    "How many of you who are so indignant about people not coming out are using pseudonyms? How many of you have the guts to use you REAL NAMES on Towleroad? How many of you would be willing to post your actual names and locations today.

    That's what I thought."

    and was written before, or while, you wrote your clarification.

    I don't fall into the category of those who are indignant over people not coming out, and I've never been a proponent of outing but even still I felt that the comparison to people using pseudonyms on discussion boards, especially when they are often linked directly to email addresses, was weak, as it was originally stated. I still do.

    However, I was typing my "bushel barrel of pears" response when you expanded and clarified your statement. I didn't notice it until a moment ago. I better understand the relevance of your analogy now. Apologies for the misundertanding.

    For the record I never defended "outing" anyone. I just questioned what the definition of "outing" is and questioned if reporting, or discussing, or acknowledging a closeted celebrity's sexuality is necessarily "outing" them, especially when they are open about it outside of their public persona. I don't necessarily think so.

    There is a little thing called "intent" that
    in my opinion, determines the difference between "outing" and "reporting". I already made clear where I thought OUT magazine did BOTH in the same issue of the magazine. I have no problem with the "reporting" of including them in the "Power" list but I did take issue with the cover picture that I felt was inappropriate in that it was clearly intended to make their supposed "closets" an issue and therefore I interpreted it as a mean spirited "outing".

    I don't mean to split hairs but, to me, the differences are clear and significant.

    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 4, 2007 6:06:25 PM

  25. Kat: If I can add, there are many "levels" of press coverage, so even though a celeb might be "out" locally to friends, family and the gay press, unless they get that People mag cover, the larger str8 world will not know anything about it. This leads to making a formal statements and such. Out mag has almost no readership in the str8 world and this list will go almost unnoticed. "Bigger" news outlets also follow stricter reporting standards. Standards go: word-of-mouth forums, blogs, gossip rags, gay press, indie press, elite gossip, mass market gossip, mainstream press, mass market press. Where the latter are more reluctant to report anything beyond press releases. Stories "fall" onto one of these levels and do not go higher.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 4, 2007 6:26:41 PM

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