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Minnesota morning anchor comes out as gay on live TV

A Minnesota news anchor who went viral for coming out live on morning television reflected on the life-changing experience during his first Pride month celebrations.

News anchor Jason Hackett came out as gay on NBC affiliate KARE 11’s “Sunrise” show on 3 May.

“Coming out to people is never easy for me. I’m so nervous right now. I’m not going to lie,” Hackett said at the time. “This is no doubt the most people I’ve ever come out to at once. But what me … and everyone here on ‘Sunrise’ strive for, is authenticity. And I can’t preach that without being my authentic self.”

“For anyone that is watching this now, who is struggling to find acceptance, or struggling with their family or friends, take it from me, a gay Black son of immigrants, the road may not be easy, I won’t lie to you and say that it is — but don’t worry, keep going,” he continued. “You’re going to make it.”

In an interview with Today about his high-profile coming out experience, the 36 -year-old journalist said that “a lot has changed in the last two months.”

Hackett recalled the relief he felt finally being able to go out in public with his partner of five years without worry. The pair recently attended a basketball game together, and for the first time, he didn’t care who was watching. The 13-year broadcast veteran said, “He had his hand on my knee, and we were obviously together and I didn’t give a damn about what people thought.”

“I lived in this glass closet where my friends and coworkers knew I was gay, but never my audience,” Hackett explained. “I kept it to myself.”

Before the camera focused on him on 3 May, Hackett said he was so nervous he felt like his stomach was in knots.

“There was a moment where I was like, ‘Oh my God, am I really going to do this?’” Hackett recalled. “When that red light came on, my heart was beating through my chest.”

He added that once he began, “the words started flowing.”

During the segment, Hackett’s co-anchor Alicia Lewis was visibly moved, meanwhile, meteorologist John Zeigler pointed out that Hackett had given him goosebumps. Zeigler said, “I’m so proud of you.”

After leaving the studio that day, Hackett said he felt “100 pounds lighter.”

“A huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders,” Hackett said. “I was so relieved. It feels like gay people are constantly coming out to new people — you come out to your barber, and your butcher — and it’s scary every single time. Now that I’ve come out to the entire world, I don’t have to worry anymore.”

As someone whose parents are from Jamaica, a country he described as not “LGTBQ+-friendly,” he noted he has had many people of Caribbean descent reaching out to him with kind words and sharing their coming out experiences as well. He added that he wants to continue to be a resource for LGBTQ+ youth who are struggling and need guidance, leaving his DM’s open for whoever wants to reach out to him.

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