Towleroad Interview: Thomas Roberts

SP: What kind of support system did you have after the attempt?
TR: My sister found me and saved my life. My family worked very hard to get me back to a better mental place.  I had such a sense of hopelessness. However, the pain that I saw I caused my family, I knew I could never put them through that again and living was the only way to move forward.

SP: You said that you would like to get married in your native state of Maryland. How did you feel when the state's marriage equality bill, which looked like it had a very good chance of passing, eventually died in the House?
TR: Yes, I did.  Again, I feel comfortable and I am happy to share that on-air.  I think time is on my side and it will eventually pass.  I am just proud that my home state is working toward legislation that reflects equality.
Thomasroberts2SP: You still consider yourself a Catholic though you no longer practice. What are some of the positive things you take away from the religion?
TR: I take my spirituality with me and I am glad to have it.  Being a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of the church robbed me of enough and I won’t allow it to take my spiritually as well.
  SP: What do you say to those critics who believe that being gay and Catholic is a contradiction?
TR: Life is full of contradictions. My faith was chosen for me by my parents and today I am not a “fully functioning/practicing Catholic.”  I don’t think I am alone with that concept.
SP: You told me last year that though you're not a fan of outing people, that you wish some closeted people would "grow a pair." What do you think is the biggest fear possessed by news anchors who live openly gay in their private lives but choose to not come out publicly?
TR: I think the biggest fear is self acceptance.  We all have different timing for when that comes along.
SP: Your colleague, Rachel Maddow, recently revealed three beliefs she has about gay news anchors. Do you agree with any or all of her these?
TR: Rachel is brilliant and I love her.  Enough said!

SP: Which LGBT issues do you believe deserve the most media attention right now?
TR: I have been so saddened by this recent rash of LGBT suicides and I think talking about it and covering it has been a great help.  I still think the dialogue needs to remain open.  I also feel the same sex bi-national couple issue is huge.  There are same-sex couples who have been married legally in this country and now face being split apart because they are not recognized by the federal government.

SP: Do you think there is enough coverage of LGBT-related issues in the mainstream media?
TR: I think we have never seen more than we do today.  I am proud to be part of that nudge and I only think we will see more.  Just showing up for work on a daily basis puts an LGBT face in mainstream media, whether we are covering an LGBT issue that day or not viewers see me daily.  That in itself is a great accomplishment.


  1. says


    that is tasteless to bring up, there is a time and place for such and it isn’t now

    Anyway; great interview

  2. Skep says

    Whatever, Mstro. He’s a public figure. The pix have been floating around for a while. An interview with a gay outlet is exactly the time and place for it.

  3. chris says

    no question his telecasts are informative and alive. MSNBC made a great decision to give him his own time slot…they should give him Alex Whitt’s weekend slots…she’s just terrible!

  4. pete says

    skep, the most i will give u is that he could have been asked generally about the controversy, but NO public figure should be shown a widely circulated photo of a man’s genitals and be asked, “is this your penis?”

  5. patrick nyc says

    He and Maddow are great role models not just for kids and gays, but for all people. Nice interview Mr. Pep.

  6. TJ says

    Came hear to comment (positively); now I’m just disappointed. Why must we eat our own? I really don’t want to know the dirt. I really don’t need it dug up and thrown in my face. I imagine there are many people reading this blog whose private lives would make for scandalous public consumption, and I’ll bet any number of excuses could be made for setting up the buffet.

  7. Phil says

    It is incredible that two of the few “real news” anchors working today are openly gay.

  8. johnny says

    Truly inspirational. And a person to watch in more ways than one, I think we’ll see this guy leading the way on a lot of issues.

  9. Adam says

    @Phil – and don’t forget even a “faux news” anchor – Shepard Smith.

    My only criticism is that photo of Thomas Roberts is horrible. Either it’s airbrushed to death or he’s wearing more makeup than the late Tammy Faye. I guess in the day of high-def, one feels the need to apply foundation, but damn. It’s terribly emasculating.

  10. says

    Mr. Roberts is an inspiration to all of us. And he’s a positive force for some of us old and jaded folks too. I’ve been happily out forever, but it still makes me feel better to see an openly gay person in public life. And perhaps more importantly, straight journalists don’t always “get” our issues the way a gay one does.

    Thank you Mr. Roberts for your courage and your service.

  11. Gregv says

    Thomas Roberts is smart, handsome, informed and professional. I can only imagine how much it would have helped me as a kid if there had been someone like him on TV news. I hope we see a lot more of him in the future.

  12. kirk says

    Rachel Maddow wasn’t giving rules for news anchors. Those are her beliefs for out and outing in regard to all LGBT people.

    @David Ehrenstein Anderson Cooper didn’t lie about his sexuality to climb to the top of the news business. He took the professional risk of living out and being honest within the industry for a career that’s been built over a couple of decades. Thomas Roberts has been open about the fact he lied to his employers and co-workers about being straight and went on show dates with women to fool them until he got up to national news. So it wasn’t that long ago when Anderson Cooper was someone Thomas Roberts could look to as a role model of a more honest and responsible life.

    Thomas came out after being outed. Thomas never mentioned his sexuality on air until he got to actively liberal MSNBC where doing so was an asset. He never did an interview about being gay until it had become clear he couldn’t get work in news or even hold a job on a tabloid entertainment program so any press was better than no press. I’m glad he’s out now but he’s no patron saint of gays. It’s not as though he’s the only out news guy on TV or the most heroic. I think because Thomas is white he has gotten a lot more attention than some out men of color I can think of in TV news who have been more stand up guys than him.

  13. robd says

    @ Adam – Shepard Smith isn’t out and he is kind of dishonest about his sexuality. He’ll tell interviewers about his divorce from a woman but anything about personal relationships other than the beard marriage is *private*.

  14. robd says

    He was already a television guy when the manhunt profile was exposed.

    It’s not like the pics were private pics never intentionally shared with online strangers or posted before he knew he’d be famous.

    When they came out a lot of people positively identified them as him and the background as his residence.

  15. GDC says

    Homosexuality IS a mental sickness and ALL homosexuals ARE mentally sick, psychotic!

    Homosexuality and pedophilia are one in the same both are perversion of a sick mind.

    Keep homosexuals away from children and out of society.

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