Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean: A Tale of Two Comings Out

Ideas

Two famous men came out this week, but little about their moments was similar. Coming out remains a political gesture — an act of resistance in a world that still tries to attach shame to homosexuality. When gay bashing remains prevalent and politicians and voters work to constrain gay civil rights, one’s sexual orientation cannot be just someone’s “private business.” Knowing people are gay is a path to acceptance. Studies show that people are more likely to be at peace with homosexuality even if they only know homosexuals through parasocial relationships — the sort of one-sided relationships we have with celebrities. It becomes harder to hate gay people when you find them in your living room all the time via Modern Family or Will & Grace. So coming out remains important because the visibility and normality of prominent gay Americans makes life easier for less famous gay Americans, some…

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