MSNBC's Thomas Roberts On Why He Refuses To Boycott Russia
MSNBC news anchor (and openly gay resident hottie) Thomas Roberts is heading to Moscow, Russia in November to host the Miss Universe pageant, a move that's been met with quite a bit of controversy.
Another high profile gay man, Andy Cohen, rejected the hosting gig citing Russia's anti-gay laws.
Roberts has penned an op-ed explaining the rationale behind his decision. He aggressively sought the hosting gig not in spite of Russia's anti-gay laws, but because of them. He sees this as an opportunity present an example of "a happy, healthy, gainfully employed, educated and married man," which he believes will provide hope to the struggling LGBT community in Russia and potentially enlighten those in Russia that he--and we--are no different than anyone else.
In an excerpt from Roberts's full op-ed, he writes:
So people may wonder: “Thomas, how can you accept this assignment? Shouldn’t you boycott Russia?” I am not going to boycott. Boycotting and vilifying from the outside is too easy. Rather, I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay. Let people see I am no different than anyone else.
All kids—Russian, American or otherwise—need hope. I am a happy, healthy, gainfully employed, educated and married man. And yes, I am gay. These new Russian laws won’t stop Russians from being born LGBT and growing up to identify as such. Russia’s treatment of its LGBT citizens is unacceptable, unrealistic and only promotes homophobia and intolerance for a community that does and will continue to exist.
It vaguely resembles ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As a country we recently pitched DADT into the dust bin of American history. We are too smart for that now.
But we still have elected U.S. leaders rallying against marriage equality and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. History teaches us these political approaches hurt good kids and people everywhere—those who need hope, guidance, education, safe space and YES, LGBT role models.
We do them no favors by turning away now. We must be visible, we must show up, and, as Harvey Milk said, we must “give them hope.”
I go to prove there’s hope.
Do you agree with Roberts's rationale, Instincters? Is there value in being present and showing that we exist? Is he right or wrong not to boycott?
What's your Instinct?