An openly gay American newsreader has said she believes men and women in her industry have a “responsibility” to come out.

Rachel Maddow, a 38-year-old Stanford graduate who hosts her own show nightly on MSMBC, is one of the few openly gay news anchors in America. In an interview with the Guardian today, Hadley Freeman asked Ms Maddow’s opinion on a fellow news anchor who was “widely assumed” to be gay but had made no move to come out. Ms Maddow responded: “I’m sure other people in the business have considered reasons why they’re doing what they’re doing, but I do think that if you’re gay you have a responsibility to come out.”

Ms Maddow rose to prominence on Air America, a national radio station where she co-hosted ‘Unfiltered’ with Chuck D. She then moved to CNN before being give her own show on MSMBC in 2008.

That same year, David Frum, a former speech writer for George Bush told Ms Maddow – live on her own show – that he saw her as part of “the ugliness that has been a feature of American politics in the past eight years”. Despite this, Maddow is a popular figure, whose ratings were 26% higher than CNN’s Piers Morgan-hosted talkshow in the same timeslot.

Freeman says that Maddow is “inspirational to all women, gay or straight. With her short brown hair and elegant if gangly body, she is a defiant rebuttal to the cookie cutter blonds who dominate US television.” Maddow said “I’m definitely not an ‘autocutie’ . . . I’m confrontational.”