Back in 2007, Anderson Cooper was still five years away from coming out publicly as a gay man.
But that didn’t stop the editors of Out Magazine from featuring his image on the cover of its annual Out 100 issue alongside an image of Jodie Foster who has remained virtually silent about her sexuality.
Cooper was featured on the list of 100 gays and lesbians in subsequent years as well. But this year, a year in which he came out publicly and is now one of the most famous openly gay persons in the US, he did not make the cut.
But plenty of others did including Jane Lynch, Boy George, Andrew Rannells and Sharon Needles who are each featured on separate covers of the magazine which will be available on newsstands 20 November.
Boy George reflects in the magazine how his feelings about being a famous gay person have evolved.
‘As I’ve traveled around the world to places that wouldn’t let me in
back in the day, like Argentina or Russia, one of the things I’ve been struck by is the number of people who’ve said, ‘You’re the reason I came out,’’ he says. ‘In the past I might have taken that a bit lightly, and now I feel that it’s a real responsibility. What I’ve realized is that the world hasn’t changed — there are still lots of places where people are having a really, really hard time because of their sexuality, and I think one of the most important things I can do is be a self-respecting gay public figure.’
The 100 honorees were chosen in various categories which include : British artist David Hockney (Lifetime Achievement); Elton John and David Furnish (Legend and Champion); Terrence McNalley and Jon Robin Baitz (Playwrights); Boy George (Legend); Jane Lynch (Entertainer of the Year); Andrew Rannells (The Ingenue); Sharon Needles (Stylemaker of the Year); Humberto Leon and Joseph Altuzarra (Designers); Adam Goldman (Web Star); Amanda Palmer (Musician); Michael Urie, Simon Callow and Matthew Wilkas (Actors); Patrick Abner and Thomas Roberts and Christine Quinn and Kim Catullo (Newlyweds); and Jonathan Liscecki and Ira Sachs (Filmmakers).
Other selections included several LGBT activists such as Jennifer Chrisler, Terrence Meck, Lynn Paltrow, Christopher Tepper, Paul Kelterborn and Dave Mathews.
Also included is filmmaker David France whose documentary, How to Survive a Plague, dazzled on the film festival circuit this year. The documentary won acclaim for its detailed and dramatic portrait of the men and women who started ACT UP 25 years ago as well as its spin-off, TAG which were instrumental in pushing for the breakthrough treatments for HIV/AIDS.
Among those featured prominently in Plague is Out 100 honoree Peter Staley who is seen in footage as a young man with AIDS brilliantly debating Pat Buchanan on CNN’s Crossfire. It is because of his efforts and that of his fellow ACT UP and TAG members that Staley and others are still alive today.
The covers and individual and group portraits inside the magazine of all on the list were shot by photographer M. Sharkey.