An openly gay US television host due to present the Miss Universe contest in Moscow has recently condemned Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” legislation, calling it a “dark time” for the country.
Shortly after arriving in Moscow with his husband, Thomas Roberts, co-host of Saturday’s Miss Universe, told AFT: “The Russian laws obviously are a dark time and a dark chapter in LGBT history here.
“They’re seeking a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and meanwhile it causes new problems because it allows people to abuse and hurt and vilify the LGBT community under the guise of some propaganda law that’s just ridiculous.”
Mr Roberts, who is also the host of MSNBC Live, married his partner last year after coming out publicly in 2006.
Mr Roberts added: “These laws represent the fact that the government is seeking a solution for a problem that doesn’t really exist. There really is no reason to demonise the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) population.
In this atmosphere here we’re seeing the problem with homophobia being condoned and these laws actually allowing people to be victimised.”
Mr Roberts is co-hosting Miss Universe after its regular co-host Andy Cohen, who is also gay, pulled out, saying he was not comfortable with coming to Russia because of the law.
He said on Tuesday that he had faced accusations of being a “LGBT sellout” for not boycotting the event in Moscow.
However, Mr Roberts said he came to show his “support of the LGBT community in Russia… as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay.”
Russian activist Ksenia Sobchak recently praised Mr Roberts for his decision to go to Moscow on Twitter. She said: “I’ve never been a fan of the contest ‘Miss Universe,’ but now I will be!”
Mr Roberts said he did not know whether his gay identity would be mentioned during the show.
He said: “If it does (come up) — great. If people and the viewers at home that are watching learn more about me and know that I’m married and my husband is here, I think that’s fantastic.
“I don’t know if I’m here to promote gay rights, I think I’m here to promote that people like me deserve equal rights, because we are no different than anyone else.”