Anderson Cooper:
“The Fact Is, I’m Gay.”
(And in other news, The Incredible Hulk is green.)

That was the basic thought-process across Twitter and Facebook today– or at least the Facebook and Twitter feeds that we follow. It came about from a lengthy email message that Anderson Cooper sent to the Daily Beast‘s Andrew Sullivan, and which got posted to the site Monday. In the email, the CNN reporter and anchor finally came out publicly as gay.

He wrote: “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.”

Rumors of Cooper’s orientation had circulated for years since he first appeared as a host of the ABC reality show The Mole, but Cooper never publicly discussed his personal life. He even downplayed being the son of famous fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt, and all of these actions appeared to be an attempt to maintain some level of privacy in his personal life. However, Cooper explained to Sullivan that he’d been reminded “that _ 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.”

And thus the jokes began. Like when Elton John, Rosie O’Donnell, Sean Hayes or other seemingly obvious gay celebs came out, people within the entertainment industry started making jokes. Such as this image from Facebook:

However, Jennifer Vanasco on The Huffington Post took a moment to cut through the easy one-liners. She wrote, “It may seem like everyone knew Anderson Cooper was gay, but I assure you that not everyone knew. Cooper took a risk by doing this. He may endanger himself when he flies to Middle Eastern warzones to do his job as a journalist, but now he’s endangered himself in another way: He may lose viewers whose prejudice will not allow them to see Anderson Cooper, reporter, only Anderson Cooper, gay. He will have some blowback. He is probably well insulated from it, but nevertheless, it will occur, and this is why he’s brave.”

It will be interesting to see if this announcement does impact his career or, like with Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Bomer or Zachary Quinto, it just becomes another day in the life of a successful career.