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Anderson Cooper: Being gay ‘made me a better person, and it’s made me a better reporter’

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CNN anchor Anderson Cooper says he believes that growing up gay gave him an outsider’s perspective that has made him a better person and journalist.

“I think being gay is one of the great blessings of my life,” Cooper said during a Q&A on CNN’s “Full Circle” released on Monday. “It made me a better person, and it’s made me a better reporter.” 

“When you feel, especially when you grow up, kind of feeling like you’re on the outside of things and you’re kind of an observer to things or not necessarily in the mainstream, you see society from a slightly different view, and I think that can be very valuable and can impact how you treat other people and how you see things,” he continued. 

Asked how he learned to “accept being gay” and how old he was at the time, Cooper said that he was 6 or 7 years old when he realized “something was up.” 

The CNN anchor said that he told friends in high school and college about his sexuality, but when he “really, truly accepted it and not just accepted it but fully embraced it and came around to really loving the fact that I was gay, would probably be right after college.”  

“A lot of the things I wanted to do, at the time, you couldn’t be gay. I was interested in joining the military. You couldn’t be gay,” Cooper said. “I felt like there were a lot of places that I would be limited in traveling to for safety reasons. I just felt like there were a lot of limitations on it, and it wasn’t what I envisioned for my life. Or, I imagined a family and getting married and all those things, which weren’t possible at the time.”

But Cooper, who attended Yale University, said that he realized after graduating that “I don’t want to waste any more time worrying about this and sort of wishing I was some other way.” 

“It’s enabled me to love the people that I’ve loved and have the life that I’ve had, so I’m very blessed,” he said.

Cooper came out publicly in 2012, when he was 45. 

Last year, he welcomed his first child, a son, Wyatt, to the world. He called fatherhood “a dream come true,” telling People magazine that “when I was 12 years old and I knew I was gay and thought about my life, it always upset me, because I thought, ‘I will never be able to have a kid.’”

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