Anderson Cooper has publicly acknowledged for the first time that he is gay, an admission he made after friend and journalist Andrew Sullivan, who is also openly gay, sought his feedback on the issue of celebrities coming out.

Anderson Cooper: “I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.” (GUS RUELAS/REUTERS)

Cooper gave Sullivan, a columnist for the Daily Beast, permission to reprint an e-mail that he sent in response to Sullivan’s query, which says, in part:

“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.”

Cooper adds that he’s been open about his orientation with friends, family and colleagues for years, but had attempted to remain private about his personal life because of concerns about how it would affect his work as a journalist.

“I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist,” he writes. Cooper says he ultimately decided to end his silence on the subject because, “I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.”

Every time Celebritology or any other blog or media outlet prints an item like this one — one with a headline that trumpets a famous person coming out — the inevitable questions are raised: Did we really need to make such a big deal? We already had an inkling that Cooper, or Jim Parsons, or Matt Bomer, was gay. And each of those individuals, as noted in a recent Entertainment Weekly cover story, acknowledged their orientation in a quiet way that suggests it isn’t that big of a deal, it’s just part of who they are.

However, as Cooper notes, every time an actor or anchorman or musician comfortably notes that he or she is gay, it further establishes that being gay is, indeed, not a big deal.

Will a lot of people read this post because that headline is admittedly eye-catching? If the Web traffic on the previously mentioned Parsons item is any indication, then yes, they will. But each of these items also may serve as another stop on a route to a place where someone’s sexual orientation no longer qualifies as news.

Cooper may be acknowledging what was already known, but he did so in a classy, well-stated fashion that will hopefully put to rest all those snarky blog comments about when the guy will finally come out of a closet that, privately, he walked out of ages ago. What do you think about Cooper’s revelation? Does it merit the media attention it will inevitably get? Should he have remained mum, or was it brave of him to finally acknowledge his status?

Weigh in by posting a comment.