Out News Anchor Thomas Roberts to Host Miss Universe in Russia
Thomas Roberts, an openly gay anchor at MSNBC, announced on Thursday that he will be traveling in November to co-host Miss Universe, which will be held in Russia, despite the country's controversial anti-gay laws, the Huffington Post reports.
"It is a huge, visible opportunity for LGBT people. Everywhere," Roberts wrote in on MSNBC's website. He went on to discuss the "homosexual propaganda" law and said the measure aims to "criminalize" and "stigmatize" Russia's LGBT community. Though he is obviously against the laws, which President Vladimir Putin signed into law this summer, Roberts explained why he intends to go to Russia.
"These new Russian laws won't stop Russians from being born LGBT and growing up to identify as such," Roberts wrote. "I go to prove there's hope."
He added: "I'm proud of our nation, which still aspires to live up to the promise of its founding fathers. I am unafraid to tell you how traditional my husband and I are," he said. "After 13 years, we continue to foster and grow our life together, with highs and lows, the folly and the fights. The same things many long term couples experience. Simple things: Trash night, dog walks, the remote control. Tough things: Homophobia, job loss, death."
"I am just like millions of LGBT people around the world. We are good, regular, hard-working people who come from solid families," he wrote.
He concluded that he wants to "offer my support to the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay."
"Let people see I am no different than anyone else," Roberts wrote.
On Friday, Roberts was a guest on MSBNC's "Morning Joe" to discuss his decision, Towleroad reports.
"Patrick (his husband) and I have discussed this. We understand that we go on a different privilege than a lot of other people are that live in Russia right now," he said. "We live here in the sates under a different set of privileges. Right now marriage equality is still a big battle.
"ENDA continues to be a battle in Washington DC. We understand what the home turf is like. I want to go and educate myself on what Russia's turf is like," Roberts continued. "I want to be able to carve out how I can cover and do stories for our network that way and show first hand what it's like to be there. But I know that I'm going to be treated completely differently. So there is a bit of hypocrisy that goes along with that - a tremendous amount of hypocrisy that goes along with that - so I hope to shine a bright light on that."