CNN anchor Anderson Cooper thanked his partner Ben Maisani in his acceptance speech at the GLAAD awards. Cooper received the Vito Russo award, which recognized his work as an accomplished, openly gay journalist, was presented to him by Madonna, who was dressed in a Boy Scout uniform, Us magazine reported on March 17.
After presenting the Vito Russo award to Anderson, Madonna planted a kiss on the gray-haired newsman. Anderson wiped his mouth and joked, “Do I have lipstick from Madonna on me? It’s a first. Kissing a woman, that is.”
Anderson Cooper, who is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, went on to speak about his experiences in the media industry and what it meant for him to finally be able to speak about his sexuality. Cooper credited others who paved the way for him to reveal that he is gay.
“As a gay person, it’s important for me to remember that all of us come from a community whose stories for too long have been forgotten or ignored. I’ve had so many blessings in my life. Being gay is certainly one of the greatest blessings.”
Cooper went on to say that being gay has allowed him to love and be loved and to "open my head and my heart in ways I would have never predicted."
“The ability to love one another, the ability to love another person is in my opinion one of God’s greatest gifts and I thank God every day for the ability to give and share love with the people in my life. My family, my friends, my partner Benjamin, thank you very much.”
Attendees at the GLAAD Awards said that Cooper and Maisani were “inseparable” the entire night and that Ben did not leave Anderson’s side the entire night, and even accompanied Cooper backstage when he went to say hello to Madonna.
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