Wednesday 10 April 2013 13.28 EDT
Tim Cook tops Out magazine's Power 50 list for third straight year
Newcomers to influential list include drag queen RuPaul and statistician Nate Silver but no public figure outed for the first time
As US senators race to announce their support for gay marriage, and public support for gay couples to wed increases, perhaps it's not surprising that Out magazine couldn't find a closeted public figure to unmask for the first time in its latest list of the most powerful gay men and women in the US.
In the past, the magazine has included public figures who it knew to be gay but had not made public declarations: Anderson Cooper and Jodie Foster were cover stars in 2007, but it was only last year that both publicly announced they were gay.
That said, the magazine has not shied from placing Apple's CEO Tim Cook at the top of its latest list, published on Wednesday. The Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is at No 8, and the media mogul Barry Diller is at No 12. None have addressed their sexuality publicly, but all three have featured in the list before. It is Cook's third consecutive year at the top of the list.
"Maybe that means we have less need to [out people] now," said Out editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin.
"I think one of the most phenomenal things in American society is that the argument for being in the closet is being eroded by progress, and it seems increasingly arcane – to a lot of people – for a public figure to be in the closet," he said.
Hicklin said the magazine can't avoid putting influential people who aren't publicly out on the list – which is why someone like Anderson Cooper has been on it so many times. "It wasn't really an exposé so much as it didn't make sense to have this list without having them on it."
Cooper earned the No 5 spot this year. The big shock: Foster, who came out in a speech at the Golden Globes in January, failed to make the list at all. Hicklin said Foster was near the top, but failed to make the cut in part because she has no major projects coming up this year.
The list is meant to show "who wields the most influence on broader America", and people are assigned points based on four criteria: social and cultural influence, media profile, political influence, and wealth. The list is mainly white and male, something Hicklin hopes will change in the future.
"If it's difficult for gay men and women, it's even harder for black gay men and women, or transgender men or women," Hicklin said.
Newcomers to the list this year include drag queen RuPaul Charles (50) and statistician Nate Silver (6), who accurately predicted the outcome of the 2012 presidential election on his FiveThirtyEight blog.
Other new additions include musician Frank Ocean (10), music mogul Clive Davis (42), and the newspaper boss Kevin McClatchy (50).
Davis addressed his sexuality in his memoir, which was released in February this year. Ocean has yet to publicly define his sexuality, but wrote a note about a longtime affection for his first love, a man he met when he was 19, in July 2012. McClatchy announced he is gay in a November 2012 interview with the New York Times, where he said he kept his sexuality a secret while he was CEO of the Pittsburgh Pirates between 1996 and 2007.
Jenna Lyons, the president and creative director at J Crew (38), also acknowledged her sexuality for the first time in 2012, but, like others, had appeared on the list before.