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Anderson Cooper finally says: "I'm gay"

NEW YORK -- It was one of the worst-kept secrets in the world, but today TV journalist Anderson Cooper confirmed in an email to Andrew Sullivan that he is gay.

Sullivan, the openly gay pundit who writes for The Daily Beast, told his readers today that Cooper gave him permission to share an email in which Cooper explains why it has taken so long for him to publicly utter these words: "I'm gay." Here is an excerpt from that email:

Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.

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.

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. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don't give that up by being a journalist.

Cooper's silence on his sexuality has only been amplified by the constant gossip about his love life. Google searches for "Anderson Cooper" and "Anderson Cooper boyfriend" find numerous references to the TV journalist and his boyfriend Ben Maisani as well as various photos of the two men together.

On his CNN news show as well as his daytime talk show, Cooper has tackled numerous LGBT themes and issues. So today's confirmation by Cooper that he is gay is not likely to raise many eyebrows but he will earn applause for his courage.