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Anderson Cooper, poses in Toronto Thursday, June 2, 2011. Cooper is promoting his new talk show Anderson which is part of CTV's fall lineup. TDarren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

Is he, isn't he? Silver fox Anderson Cooper has been keeping us guessing for years.

But today, the CNN anchor put all the questions to rest: "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," he wrote.

In an e-mail exchange with the Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan, which Mr. Cooper gave permission to be published, he wrote that he has kept his sexuality private to protect those close to him, and also to blend in as much as possible in dangerous situations.

"The less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist," he writes.

This announcement comes after last week's Entertainment Weekly cover story examined the recent (and casual) way celebs are publicly coming out (compare Ellen DeGeneres's epic announcement 15 years ago to the understated one by Jim Parson of Big Bang Theory, for example).

But as Mr. Sullivan puts it, "the visibility of gay people is one of the core means for our equality" – and Anderson agrees.

"I love and I am loved," writes Mr. Cooper. "There is value in standing up and being counted."

It's a similar message to the one CBC personality Rick Mercer made in a rant last year.

Mr. Mercer pushed gay politicians, celebrities and athletes to stand up and announce their sexuality because gay kids need role models now.

"If you're gay and you're in public life, I'm sorry, you don't have to run around with a Pride flag and bore everyone, but you can't be invisible, not any more," he said.

He argued the onus was on these high-profile people to set an example. (Only he forgot to declare his own homosexuality – an omission, he said later, only because he thought everyone knew.)

Twitter lit up after Mr. Cooper's announcement hit the Internet with a mix of comedy and congrats from big names:

Openly gay actor Neil Patrick Harris kept it short: "Good for you, Anderson Cooper. You're awesome."

Mia Farrow quoted Cooper: "In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business."

And Arthur Brisbane, the NYT Public Editor jabbed at CNN's Obamacare mixup, tweeting "CNN is reporting that Anderson Cooper is straight."

What do you think: Do high-profile gay people have to announce their sexual orientation? Or should a person's sexuality be off-limits?

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