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Kathy Griffin is applauding her longtime friend Anderson Cooper for his decision to come out, but she has some words of advice for him.
The CNN anchor and syndicated talk show host has long been rumored to be gay but has largely kept quiet about his personal life until penning a letter to The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan.
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“The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud,” he wrote. “I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted.”
Griffin — who hosts CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage alongside Cooper — said she’s “talked around” his sexuality for years when asked by various journalists.
“Anderson is someone who has led a very specific kind of professional life, who never talked and simultaneously exhibited social contradictions,” she writes in a piece for The Daily Beast. “And quite frankly, he never gave me permission to speak about something that represented the one part of his life he was not comfortable having confirmed in the media. But in my dealings with a certain sector of the press, that simply was never good enough.”‘
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But now that he’s come out, Griffin has a word of caution for Cooper.
“The reality is that despite the very real, the very necessary, and the very life-changing progress we have made in this country in treating people across the sexual orientation spectrum with dignity and respect, America — the world — is not fully represented by [big cities],” she writes. “America is, in large part, small towns like … Wichita, Kan., where I was eating recently at a local diner and a patron asked me, ‘Kathy, how do you deal with so many goddamned fags?'”
She goes on to write that “many of my young gays” don’t know about Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” initiative or other parts of the world where homosexuals are jailed or sentenced to death. She adds that young people see “how freeing being honest can be” but don’t realize how “dangerous” it remains in many parts of the country and the world.
“That dichotomy is deeply troubling to me,” she writes.
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Griffin also says she’s “immensely proud” of Cooper but hopes he will use caution while traveling around the world for his job.
“I just want him to be careful,” she writes. “Of course he wouldn’t be doing his job if he really were being careful. And he wouldn’t be who he is.”
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