Has Out magazine ended the debate over outing?

Today New York Magazine leaked the upcoming cover of Out magazine which features the cover story The 50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America. This is hardly the first such list (see our list of Powerful Gay Men in Hollywood), but what makes it so interesting is that not everyone on the list is out. Probably most notable for gay men is the inclusion of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. Also making list are Jodie Foster, Chi Chi LaRue, a whole slew of journos over at the New York Times, and, sigh, Perez Hilton who clocks in at number seventeen. (Check outside for plagues of locusts, the seven horsemen, and other signs of the Apocalypse.)

I have to wonder if this doesn't mark a significant turning point in whether celebrities can live in the closet. Out is simply ignoring the question of whether or not Cooper or Foster are gay and discussing them in the same breath as Barney Frank and David Geffen. By putting them on the list, Out says they are the gay and that's the end of the discussion. That's a very interesting notion indeed and it will be fascinating to see if the mainstream media follows suit.

(Click on read more to find out if Out outed anyone else!)

But why is Out only listing Cooper and Foster on their list and ignoring a number of closeted folks that are arguably more powerful than porn producer Chi Chi LaRue, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, and furniture maker and philanthropist Mitchell Gold? There is at least one Republican governor who is supposedly gay, and three senators, all of whom are significantly more powerful than "Coop". Perhaps all will be made clear when the article is public and Out's standards for naming names are explained. But I suspect not.

Lists like these always generate controversy over who is included and who isn't (hell, that's the whole idea) but frankly the list seems rather lame even without the "outing" issue. Oprah's pet designer Nate Berkus is more powerful than "Freedom To Marry" founder Evan Wolfson? Uh, don't think so. Berkus is great, but Wolfson is helping to drive the entire country toward same-sex marriage. Methinks Out was thinking more about eye candy when they made that choice and an issue this serious deserves a little more thought than that.

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