WATCH: 'It's an Embarrassment Now to Be in the Closet'
For a segment called "Coming Out Quietly," CNN's Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz spoke with Tampa Bay Times TV critic Eric Deggans, TVNewser's Gail Shister, and Sirius XM radio host-activist Michelangelo Signorile about the impact of Anderson Cooper's coming-out.
Deggans calls Cooper's coming-out "a signpost." He adds, "We're advancing in our acceptance of homosexuality and gay people in public life."
Kurtz asks Signorile why some closeted public figures still refuse to come out. "For years they've been told by the powers that be ... that it's going to harm you're career, that it's going to hurt you," Signorile replies. "I think that's changed. Certainly with many of the actors who've come out, the performers, Ellen DeGeneres, and others ... Suddenly a lot of these people started looking at it and saying, 'Not only would it be OK, but in fact it's an embarrassment to be in the closet.'"
Kurtz questions this. "They're on the wrong side of history," Shister says, adding that we're in the midst of a cultural sea change. "It's only a matter of time before [same-sex marriage] is legalized all over the country. They just don't want to be seen as out of touch with the mainstream." Shister also mentions that she and Signorile broke down walls that have made it possible for people such as Cooper to come out quietly.
Watch the video below.