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Jason Hackett, a respected journalist and news anchor at Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11, has always been candid about being gay with family and friends. However, he maintained a boundary between his personal life and professional career. That recently changed for Hackett as he had a significant announcement to make to the public.

According to Queerty, Hackett decided to come out as an openly gay Black man a few weeks ago on Sunrise, an early morning Minneapolitan news program he co-hosts alongside three other anchors. 

Hackett began the news segment by showing a photo of himself on the cover of Lavender magazine, an award-winning LGBTQ+-focused publication based in the city. He mentioned that the publication approached him with the chance to share his coming out story with readers, and he agreed to take it.

He discussed how he had lived in a “glass closet” throughout his career, emphasizing the importance of embracing authenticity, a journey he felt compelled to embark on at this point in his life. 

“For people that really know me — my friends, my coworkers, some members of my family — this isn’t some huge surprise,” Hackett told Sunrise viewers. “I’ve been living in a glass closet for the most part, but now I wanted to let you out there, the viewers out there that wake up with me every morning, to know a little bit more about me.”

He continued, “I am so nervous right now — not gonna lie. This is no doubt the most people I’ve ever come out to at once. But what me and Alicia and John and CeCe and everyone here on Sunrise strives for is authenticity. And I can’t preach that without being my authentic self.”

In his interview with Lavender, Hackett shared how many men and women are gay in the media industry but do not necessarily talk about it on television. His comfort level in sharing this information varies depending on the station and market he works in. 

“I’ve come across a lot of gay people in this business, he admitted. “And at my stations, every station I’ve been at, I’ve always been in this glass closet where I’ve told people and people know, and it’s not this huge thing. Initially when I get to these stations, I am hesitant.”

Hackett, whose family is from Jamaica, said he knew he was gay in the fifth or sixth grade, but it was hard to come out to his parents due to their conservative backgrounds and how the country frowns upon LGBTQ+ groups

“My parents are Jamaican immigrants, and Jamaica is not known for being a very friendly country when it comes to the LGBTQ community. I mean, you read of the horrible things with people being dragged and beaten in the streets, kids living in sewers and gutters because their parents don’t accept them, just horrible, he said.

While his parents and close friends were aware of his sexuality, he had always been mindful of his career, mainly as he worked in conservative markets such as Florida, Iowa and Oklahoma City. In the Twin Cities, he felt the time was right to share this aspect of himself with his viewers.

“For anyone that is watching this now who is struggling to find acceptance or struggling with their family or their friends, take it from me, a gay, Black son of immigrants, he said. “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.”

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