Anderson Cooper's sexuality has been the subject of rumors for years, but that speculation came to an end Monday morning when the CNN anchor came out in an email to the Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan.

Cooper had refused to comment publicly on his sexual orientation, but the fact that he was gay was something of an open secret in media circles. (Out magazine put him on its "Power 50" list this year.) This arrangement seemed to work out for everyone: The people who knew didn't care, and the people who would care didn't know.

But, when asked to comment on the recent Entertainment Weekly story on the casualness with which some celebrities have come out as gay recently, Cooper sent Sullivan this heartwarming email:

It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something — something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, 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.

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.

I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don't give that up by being a journalist.

Read the whole thing here, it really is lovely.