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“I’m so nervous right now”

Minnesota news anchor Jason Hackett recently attended a basketball game with his partner of five years, and for the first time, he didn’t care if anyone was watching.

“He had his hand on my knee and we were obviously together and I didn’t care what people thought,” Hackett, 36, tells

“A lot has changed in the last two months,” he adds.

In May, Hackett came out as gay on NBC affiliate KARE 11’s show “Sunrise,” where he has appeared since January 2023.

“I lived in a kind of glass closet where my friends and colleagues knew I was gay, but my audience never did,” explains Hackett, who has worked in broadcasting for 13 years. “I kept it to myself.”

Hackett says he had a sinking feeling in his stomach before the camera was pointed at him on the morning of May 3.

“There was a moment where I thought, ‘Oh my God, am I really going to do this?'” Hackett recalls. “When the red light came on, my heart was in my throat.”

Then, he says, “the words started flowing.”

“It’s never easy for me to come out to people. I’m so nervous right now. I’m not going to lie,” Hackett told viewers. “This is hands down the most people I’ve ever come out to in one go. But what I… and everyone here at Sunrise strives for is authenticity. And I can’t preach that without being my authentic self.”

“Anyone who is watching this and struggling to be accepted or who is having problems with their family or friends can trust me, a gay black son of immigrants. The road may not be easy, I won’t lie to you and tell you it is – but don’t worry, keep going,” he continued. “You will get there.”

Hackett’s co-host Alicia Lewis was visibly moved, while meteorologist John Zeigler pointed to the goosebumps on his arm.

“I am so proud of you,” said Zeigler.

Hackett says he left the gym feeling “45 kilograms lighter.”

“A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders,” says Hackett. “I was so relieved. It feels like gay people are constantly coming out to new people – you come out to your hairdresser and your butcher – and it’s scary every time. Now that I’ve come out to the whole world, I don’t have to worry anymore.”

Hackett says he has received messages of support from all over the world, noting that many of the people who have reached out are of Caribbean descent and can relate to his experience.

Hackett’s parents are from Jamaica, a country he describes as not particularly “LGTBQ+ friendly.”

“I first came out to my mum when I was 19 and we didn’t talk about it for a while after that. I think she hoped it was just a phase and I just hadn’t found the right girl yet,” Hackett reveals. “A few years later I came out again. I wrote them a letter and that didn’t go down so well. I should have had a face-to-face conversation but I was scared.”

When Hackett came out to his parents for the third time, he showed them a picture of his friend.

“That’s when it really dawned on them,” says Hackett.

Although Hackett’s mother and father have not yet met his partner, he hopes they will one day.

“I’m not mad at my parents and I don’t blame them. I know it’s hard,” he says. “Things are slowly getting a little better. My mother isn’t able to fully accept me yet, but there was never any doubt that my parents love me.”

Hackett wants LGBTQ+ youth struggling to survive to know that his Instagram DMs are open.

“I know what it feels like to think, ‘I’ll never be accepted. I have to change or I’ll have to hide forever,'” says Hackett. “Know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Live freely and love openly and be proud of who you are. It really does get better.”

This article was originally published on

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