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From Pentecostal Church to Out News Anchor: Chance Seales's Journey

Chance Seales and family

The Newsy Tonight anchor's life has taken many turns, but they've all informed who he is. 

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Chance Seales (left) with his husband, Hernan Winkler, and their twins. Image by Stephanie Photo KC

From grandson of a Pentecostal minister to out gay news anchor, Chance Seales has had a life with more twists and turns than most -- but in some ways he's stayed close to his roots.

Seales hosts Newsy Tonight, an in-depth program airing each weeknight on Newsy, an E.W. Scripps-owned 24/7 news network available to nearly 100 million U.S. homes on Newsy.com, major streaming services, and a plethora of broadcast stations via digital antenna.

One of those stations is Kansas City, Mo.'s KPXE, which once carried his maternal grandfather's Bible Q&A show, Sunday Night Alive. The grandfather was pastor of a Pentecostal church in Kansas City (now led by Seales's uncle), and Seales, who grew up primarily in Blue Springs, Mo., a K.C. suburb, recalls the excitement of going to the studio.

"I was hooked on TV from the day I can remember," says Seales, 37. But it wasn't just religious TV -- he was a news junkie early on. "I would wake up an hour before school to watch Joan Lunden on Good Morning America," he says. "I thought she was my best friend. I loved her."

He also found that TV news was how he learned about history, thanks to journalists like Lunden, Peter Jennings, and Lesley Stahl, he says.

He didn't go into journalism right away, though. He got his undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology at St. Louis University, then sold Yellow Pages ads for a time. But he went back to school for a master's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri at Columbia, then had his first stint with Washington, D.C.- based Newsy from 2009 to 2011, first as a writer and then an anchor.

He then went to Florida to work as a local news anchor, then back to D.C., as Washington correspondent for a couple of media companies. In 2017, Newsy asked him to host a new show, Newsy Tonight, making him one of the few out gay prime-time news anchors in the nation.

Chance Seales

Chance Seales on set; courtesy Newsy

"On Newsy Tonight, we cover all the big stories of the day, but we really try to drill down on stories we think are undercovered," Seales explains. "We know that most stories are far more complex than a skim of the synopsis would lead you to believe."

This includes stories on LGBTQ+ issues, such as a recent one on gender-affirming care in Colorado. And Newsy has been accepting and supportive of Seales's identity.

"It was not a given when I got into media that I would be able to share the full truth of our life," says Seales, speaking of a life that includes his husband, economist Hernan Winkler, and their 2-year-old twin boys, August and Walter.

Acceptance from his family has been a gradual process, as Pentecostalism is one of the most conservative branches of Christianity. Growing up, he was taught that to be gay was to be hell-bound.

"In my world, being gay wasn't a possibility," he says. "I always knew there was something different about me, but the idea that this could be me was something I really had to grapple with."

Chance Seales in 1994

Chance Seales on his grandfather's set, 1994; courtesy Newsy

He came out to himself in college, he says, then came out to friends and family over the next few years. His family members weren't thrilled, and he has had some difficult discussions with them. "I would have loved a different reaction," he says. But with interactions that have taken time and patience, the family relationship has endured.

"You have to meet people where they are," Seales says. "But that doesn't mean you have to accept subpar treatment." He hasn't received that, he emphasizes. "There's never been a question of whether my family loves me," he says.

He expects to continue those conversations with his family, and he also expects to continue doing in-depth coverage for Newsy Tonight.

"Newsy is the place I wanted to be even before I was back [there]," he says. "Newsy is a place I consider home."

This story is part of The Advocate's 2022 Love issue, which came out on newsstands in February. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe -- or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.