Anderson Cooper: "Being Gay is a Blessing"

Anderson Cooper, who will be honored with the Vito Russo Award presented by Madonna at the New York GLAAD Media Awards this Saturday, March 16, today spoke with Michelangelo Signorile on his SiriusXM OutQ Program in what will be Cooper's "only full-length interview" ahead of the GLAAD Media Awards.

"At a certain point, I realized that by not saying something I was sending a message or maybe giving some people the mistaken impression that I was uncomfortable or maybe there was something I was ashamed about [...] and that made me really sad because I did not want to give that impression. It saddens me to think that I did give that impression because I think being gay is a blessing and it's something I am thankful for every single day and have been my entire adult life. I couldn't be more proud of being gay," Cooper said of coming out in an e-mail to Andrew Sullivan this past summer.

Cooper noted that receiving the Vito Russo Award (presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality) has "tremendous meaning." Previous honorees include Ricky Martin, Rosie O'Donnell and Elton John. The Award takes its name from legendary HIV/AIDS advocate Vito Russo, who was also one of GLAAD's founders. Cooper went on to say he is a "huge fan" of Madonna and was "stunned" when it was announced that she would present him with the Award on stage.

Signorile and Cooper discuss some of the LGBT stories Cooper has covered throughout his career, coming out both personally and professionally and Cooper also talks about the effect his brother's 1988 death by suicide had on his own choice to become a journalist. Listen to the full interview at Huffington Post.

Good Morning America anchors Lara Spencer, Josh Elliott, and Sam Champion will host the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, presented locally by Delta Air Lines. The GLAAD Media Awards are presented nationally by Ketel One and Wells Fargo. Special guests include NFL players Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe, Ellen Barkin, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry and Thomas Roberts and John Leguizamo.

The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in New York on March 16, 2013 at the New York Marriott Marquis; in Los Angeles on April 20 at the JW Marriott; and in San Francisco on May 11 at the Hilton San Francisco - Union Square. Additional Special Honorees for each city will be announced in coming weeks.

Take a look at this year's nominees and get your tickets here.

To receive the latest updates on the GLAAD Media Awards, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadawards.