Jason Hackett poses by the KARE 11 Pride float in a rainbow sweatband and purple tanktop smiling.
Image Credit: @jasonhackettnews/Instagram

There’s no pride like the first one you celebrate as who you are!

Just look at Minneapolis-based TV anchor Jason Hackett, who geared up for Pride Month by coming out to viewers from behind the news desk back in May. Although he was out to friends, family, and co-workers, this marked the journalist’s first time sharing it with an audience.

This past weekend, he continued the celebration by walking in the Twin Cities Pride Parade on Sunday, June 30.

Decked out in a rainbow sweatband and a purple KARE 11 tank top, Hackett was supported by his co-workers as the team made their presence — and support for the LGBTQ+ community — known.

“Proud of me? Nah, I’m proud of y’all,” Hackett wrote on Instagram, alongside a gallery of pics from the parade. “Thank you Twin Cities for showing up and showing OUT in full force for Pride.”

According to the station (where Hackett co-hosts morning show Sunrise), more than 300,000 people flock to the Twin Cities to celebrate Pride every year and it’s “the largest free Pride festival in the country.”

This year’s theme was Show Your Pride 365, which served “as a reminder that LGBTQIA+ celebrations, stories, and experiences exist outside the month of June.”

Obviously, Hackett’s decision to professionally come out is a testament to that.

In a recent interview with Minnesota LGBTQ+ magazine Lavender, Hackett revealed he started to realize he was queer “somewhere around fifth or sixth grade.”

Still, growing up with “very religious” parents who were Jamaican immigrants meant that for years, he felt like living his authentic life was “a no-go.” It wasn’t until his years at University of Florida, where he joined the Pride Student Union and had his first relationship with a man, that he began finding a community.

Nevertheless, broadcast news isn’t always the most accepting place to work. For years, he described himself as living in a “glass closet.”

“People at the stations I’ve worked at usually [knew I was gay], but never in the community,” Hackett explained. “Every community I’ve worked and lived in, it’s been a thing I’ve kept to myself. [This is] the first time that people in my community are aware that, ‘OK, he is gay,’ which for me is important.”

Thankfully, KARE 11 showed Hackett “the best support” he’s seen in the biz. And while 2024 marked his first parade as a publicly-out gay man, it wasn’t his first time marching with KARE 11.

In fact, the station’s presence at the 2023 parade helped encourage him to eventually share his truth with viewers.

“I could never do that anywhere else,” he told Lavender. “To march in that parade was such a big moment for me. It was such a show of support that my station is here and has my back, and it’s here to support me in any way I can.”

As for what’s next? Hackett is hopeful that his journey can inspire others. “It’d be nice to think that … there is another young, gay, Black, or anybody of color kid out there that is like, ‘Wow, he is being his authentic self and he’s not getting killed for it, he’s not getting criticized for it,'” he said.

Thank you for showing us your pride 365, Jason!

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