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News anchor bravely comes out as gay in middle of live broadcast

News anchor bravely comes out as gay in middle of live broadcast

Jason Hackett said he felt like a weight had been 'lifted'

A Minnesota news anchor has spoken out after he surprised viewers by coming out as gay in the middle of a live broadcast.

Jason Hackett, who works for KARE 11’s Sunrise show, has been with his partner for five years, but he always kept his relationship out of the public eye.

Hackett's co-workers and friends knew he was gay, but he'd struggled with sharing the news with his parents who are from Jamaica, a country that he describes as not especially 'LGTBQ+-friendly'.

He tried three times to tell them he was gay, but it wasn't until he showed them a picture of his boyfriend that the news really began to set in for them.

Still, in an interview with Today Hackett assured he's never been in any doubt that his parents love him.

However, he always chose to keep his sexuality a secret from his audience - until recently.

Hackett began working at Sunrise since last year. (Instagram/@jasonhackettnews)
Hackett began working at Sunrise since last year. (Instagram/@jasonhackettnews)

In May, Hackett decided to come out to the world live on air.

He recalled the big moment and admitted he was full of nerves before making his announcement.

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

But in spite of his nerves, 'the words started flowing'.

In the broadcast, Hackett admitted that he was 'so nervous' as he told viewers that coming out to people was 'never easy' for him.

“I’m not going to lie,” he continued.

“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."

Hackett said a weight had been lifted when he came out. (KARE11)
Hackett said a weight had been lifted when he came out. (KARE11)

He continued: “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. You’re going to make it.”

Hacket received support from his co-host Alicia Lewis and meteorologist John Zeigler at the time, and he's since received messages from all over the world.

“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.”

Having learned from his own experiences, Hackett is now assuring other people in similar positions to keep looking forward.

“I know what it feels like to think, ‘I’m never going to find acceptance. I have to change who I am or I’m going to have to hide forever,” he said.

“Know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Live freely and love openly and be proud of who you are. It really does get better."

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@jasonhackettnews

Topics: Film and TV, LGBTQ, Viral, US News