R&B phenom Frank Ocean of Odd Future and silver fox journalist Anderson Cooper came out this week, each in his own way but both to outpouring support from family, friends, and fans alike.
“I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something,” Anderson said in an open and very matter-of-fact email to journalist Andrew Sullivan, “This is distressing, because it is simply not true…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.”
Frank Ocean took to his Tumblr, where his coming out was exactly what one would expect from such a talented lyricist: a poetic letter about his first love -- a man. “4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide,” Frank said. “It was my first love. It changed my life.”
While straight women everywhere are crying in their beds, nice messages keep coming Frank and Anderson's way. From Frank Ocean’s mama to Neil Patrick Harris, here’s what everyone’s saying:
I'm proud of you, @AndersonCooper.— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) July 2, 2012
“I’m proud of you,” Ellen Degeneres Tweeted at Anderson Cooper.
Neil Patrick Harris, who came out to the public back in ‘06, also Tweeted his support.
Very proud of @AndersonCooper. I recently shared an airplane ride with him and he smells of baby powder and sunshine. Well done sir.— Johnny Weir-Voronov (@JohnnyGWeir) July 2, 2012
Figure skater Johnny Weir, who married his boyfriend in January, sent Cooper some love…and made us laugh.
My son is brave and honest and I am very proud of him. I wish more people in the world could be brave enough to be who they really are.— katonya breaux riley (@katonya) July 4, 2012
Frank Ocean’s mama has us teary-eyed.
Once a brave soul opens up life doesn't seem as hard as you thought it was. @frank_ocean inspirational.— Rita Ora (@RitaOra) July 5, 2012
“Hot Right Now” songstress Rita Ora sent Frank this beautiful message.
Respect to @frank_ocean..In a culture that is so afraid of gay..he has transcended sexuality by artistry! Big announcement from a big talent— Columbus Short (@ColumbusShort1) July 4, 2012
Actor Columbus Short gave his respect.
I salute you, brave soul.Independence Day. @frank_ocean— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) July 4, 2012
On the 4th of July, Solange Knowles Tweeted about Frank’s true “Independence Day.”
Both Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean have kept their sexuality on the DL for a while. Cooper because he believes it is a journalist’s duty to share other’s lives before his own, and Ocean, perhaps, because homosexuality is not yet widely discussed or accepted in the Hip Hop world. We salute them both, and hope that their openness and the outpouring of support from their friends and family will give more people the courage to be who they are.
Ever wonder how you would handle a loved one or close friend coming out to you? Check out the tips from GLSEN, and other ways to take action below!
10 coming out tips for those on the receiving end:
- It takes a lot of courage for someone to come out to you--listen to all they have to say without interrupting, judging, tuning out or buying into stereotypes about LGBT people.
- Tell them how pleased you are that they trusted you enough to share something so personal and congratulate them on the bravery it took to be so honest.
- Let them know that you feel the same way about them as you always have and that nothing has changed (except that you can be even closer than before).
- Ask questions and show that you are interested in learning about their feelings and experiences. Be respectful and stay away from personal issues (sex, HIV, etc.) unless they let you know it’s okay.
- If you are feeling uncomfortable or upset, be honest. Let them know you may need some time to process everything, but acknowledge that it is your problem to work out and not their responsibility.
- Remember that you cannot and should not try to change them--you have an opportunity here to support, not to reform them.
- Ask what you can do to support them or what they need from you right now.
- Follow up. The coming out conversation should be the first of many. Continue to check in and ask questions over time.
- Be open to socializing with their new friends and in a variety of settings, both LGBT and straight. Let them know that they don’t have to compartmentalize their lives.
- Be an advocate. Read up on LGBT issues, wear an LGBT-friendly button or sticker, join a GSA or other LGBT group, and confront homophobia in whatever ways you can.
The Trevor Project's trained counselors are here to support you 24/7. If you are a young person who in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call The Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386. It's free and confidential.