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See a Minnesota morning anchor come out as gay on live TV: ‘I’m so nervous right now’

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See a Minnesota morning anchor come out as gay on live TV: ‘I'm so nervous right now'

 

Minnesota news anchor Jason Hackett recently attended a basketball game with his partner of five years. And for the first time, he didn’t care if anyone was watching them.

 

See a Minnesota morning anchor come out as gay on live TV: ‘I'm so nervous right now'

“He had his hand on my knee, and we were obviously together and I didn’t give a damn about what people thought,” Hackett, 36, tells TODAY.com. “A lot has changed in the last two months,” he adds. In May, Hackett came out as gay on NBC affiliate KARE 11’s “Sunrise” show, where he’s worked since January 2023.

“I lived in this glass closet where my friends and coworkers knew I was gay, but never my audience,” Hackett, a 13-year broadcast veteran, explains. “I kept it to myself.” Hackett says there were knots in his stomach before the camera threw to him on the morning of May 3.

“There was a moment where I was like, ‘Oh my God, am I really going to do this?’” Hackett recalls. “When that red light came on, my heart was beating through my chest.” “Coming out to people is never easy for me. I’m so nervous right now. I’m not going to lie,” Hackett told viewers. “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.”

Hackett’s co-anchor Alicia Lewis was visibly emotional while meteorologist John Zeigler, gestured to goose bumps on his arm. “I’m so proud of you,” Zeigler said. Hackett says he left the studio feeling “100 pounds lighter.”

“A huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders,” Hackett says. “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.”

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