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Anderson Cooper, Madonna and Vito Russo

Not so long ago Anderson Cooper was publicly silent about being gay, but since coming out last summer, he’s constantly in the headlines speaking about his homosexuality with unabashed honesty.

Leading up to his receiving the Vito Russo Award from GLAAD, Anderson gave an interview to The Huffington Post, where he talks about knowing he was gay his whole life, his brother’s suicide and the honour of being awarded the Russo Award by Madonna, who he’s a “huge fan” of.

"I’ve always known I was gay from the time I was a little kid,” Anderson revealed. “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of it, even before I knew what it was or the name of it. If you feel like an outsider, you tend to observe things a lot more. Early on I felt very much like an observer, because I knew I was gay, I knew I was somehow different."

It was his feelings of being an outsider and his devastation over the suicide of his brother that inspired his career in journalism. “If you learn the language of loss early,” Anderson said, “I think you seek out others who have experienced the same thing, who speak that same language of loss."

Anderson’s brother, Carter, killed himself as a teenager by jumping off the balcony of his family’s home in New York in front of his mother, the legendary socialite and author Gloria Vanderbilt.  

The 24th annual GLAAD Media Awards will be hosted by Good Morning America’s Sam Champion, Lara Spencer and Josh Elliott on March 16 in New York City. “I certainly don’t think I’m worthy of it,” Anderson said of being honoured with the award, which is given to an individual who has promoted equality for the LGBT community. “But if it helps GLAAD and if it helps have more people know who Vito Russo is, then I think it is certainly worthwhile.”

For more about Russo, check out the trailer for the 1995 documentary film based on his book The Celluloid Closet, which shows the history of how Hollywood has portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters: