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Openly gay Miss Universe host not worried about his safety in Russia

Tuesday - 11/5/2013, 5:35pm  ET

Thomas Roberts (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)
Thomas Roberts replaces Bravo star Andy Cohen as the host of the Miss Universe competition. Cohen is not worried about his safety in Russia. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Roberts wants to learn more about Russia's LGBT community

MSNBC Live Anchor Thomas Roberts

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WASHINGTON - When the 2013 Miss Universe competition gets underway Saturday in Russia -- a country with anti-gay laws -- openly gay MSNBC Live Anchor Thomas Roberts will be on stage as the show's host.

"I'm going there with a different mindset. I know what American soil is like, and I'm looking to learn what it is like to be over there and learning a lot of different Russian stories of the LBGT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community there," Roberts tells WTOP.

Roberts says his downtime will be spent reporting about what Russia's new law banning pro-gay "propaganda" means to the LGBT community and its allies and how it will influence events around the world.

He says he wants to know more about "what the direction of this law seems to indicate about Russia and some deeply entrenched homophobia."

While he's not sure what awaits him in Russia, he says he's not worried about his safety.

"In all honesty, I'm not overly concerned about it. I go there on a different set of privileges," he says.

What he does hope to accomplish is to help others in Russia who are struggling with their identities.

"I am professionally successful, personally successful and those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive because I'm gay -- I think that's an important message to send," he says.

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