In Living Color
BY Jeffrey Hartinger
July 21 2011 1:45 PM ET
In what environment do you believe that homophobia is still pretty prevalent?
I’ve had many different jobs in my life — ranging from blue-collar to white-collar — and I have faced homophobia in every industry. That was part of the past, but I choose to live in the present. Homophobia continues to exist in sports because of the whole masculinity thing. In reality, being gay makes us stronger because of all the adversity and negativity we have gone through. Overall, I tend to ignore the hatred and disconnect from the people who are closed-minded and uneducated.
What would be your advice for those who want to help alleviate the tension in these places?
Be professional, get your job done, and focus on the tasks and goals at hand. It’s also not wise to get too personal with coworkers. People in our lives must earn and deserve to know who we are. If someone is facing hatred, go directly to human resources, lodge a complaint, remove yourself from the negative situation, and stand your ground. Allow your work to speak for yourself — it will show that being gay has nothing to do with your performance. Luckily, things are very different in this day and age. I feel like we all have gay friends and family members.
Which LGBT organizations or charities do you support?
I support Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Gay Rights Media, and the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center in New York City, an organization where I met my best friend, Natascha, 19 years ago. It was in a gay youth group called BIGLNY that I joined when I was 16. She named me Robear back then and it stuck. Natascha is not only solely responsible for my nickname, but she also played a huge role in my life and got me through some of the toughest times in my childhood. She faced some of the same things I did.
What’s next for you?
I plan on doing some freelance interior design work and some fashion styling — these have been my passions for many years now. Television was an amazing experience, so I’d love to do some entertainment reporting. Additionally, I’m always interested in charity work. My interests have no boundaries or limits. We’ll see where things take me.