WATCH: Thomas Roberts Hasn't Personally Experienced Russian Homophobia

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com November 08 2013 4:10 PM ET

Thomas Roberts, the out MSNBC anchor who is currently in Moscow to cohost the 2013 Miss Universe pageant Saturday night, has continued to discuss Russia's draconian anti-LGBT laws, while also noting that he hasn't witnessed any anti-LGBT discrimination firsthand. 

"I haven't run into any discrimination in the time that I've been here, but I have been reporting on MSNBC for that," Roberts told Today's Savannah Guthrie. "But I think visibility is really important. And I think me, I'm openly gay — I think it's an interesting fact — but I'm certainly not embarrassed about it, and I'm proud of my marriage, I'm proud of who I am, so I stand tomorrow night in tuxedo shoes very proud to be coming to you from Moscow for Miss Universe."

Roberts told The Advocate last month that he plans to use his network's platform to shine a light on the violent oppression of LGBT people in Russia under President Vladimir Putin's recently enacted nationwide ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships" visible to minors. 

In a separate interview with MSNBC, Roberts spoke to the controversy surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics, to take place in Sochi, Russia, in February, and addressed the numerous vague assurances from Russian officials that no athlete or spectator will be punished during the games if they speak out in support of LGBT equality. 

"I think it would be nice to think that for any international athlete or any international fan or any Russian, for that matter, that's going to be celebrating for the Olympics wouldn't be targeted for any type of discrimination," said Roberts. "But while the world celebrates the Olympics and does so on Russian soil, there might be a blind eye turned to the LGBT population from Russia or from anywhere, for that matter — it doesn't take away or negate the fact that this propaganda law is seeking a solution to a problem that doesn't exist."

Roberts echoed that sentiment in an interview with Agence France-Presse where he spoke out against the "gay propaganda" ban, calling this "a dark time and a dark chapter in LGBT history here."  

Earlier this week Roberts filed his first report from Moscow, interviewing a former TV journalist who was abruptly fired from the Kremlin-backed network where he worked after he came out as gay on the air. 

Watch the Today interview below, followed by the MSNBC segment with outgoing Miss Universe Olivia Culpo.

 

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