Perez contends that he was fired because his sexual orientation was beginning to take on too prominent a role and that his desire to have a husband and kids was seen as too much for viewers to handle.
It was a suggestion that never would have been made to one of my straight colleagues, male or female. The only thing I could take from it was that my profile as a gay man, especially if I were to have kids and, God forbid, get married, would render me less promotable and less advertiser-friendly.
In fact, over the previous five months, I’d been told, “Don’t get married, Charles. We don’t need that.” I’d also been told not to have children. In essence: “You’re the main anchor and you’re gay, but let’s not push it.”
To me, having the family I want is not pushing it. Living with love, commitment, and dignity is not pushing it.
I did not want this moment. I had hoped to be at the station for the rest of my professional career. However, I could not choose that career over the man I love and our commitment to build a family together.
I am the first to admit I don’t understand the world of TV news. I do understand, however, that the image of the anchors is the image of the network and that stations are very concerned with how anchors are perceived. While female anchors appear to face more daunting scrutiny (which may explain the almost complete absence of lesbian anchors, Rachel Maddow notwithstanding), there is certainly scrutiny for male anchors who are expected to be very “male” and “authoritative.” It explains why there are few Asian-American anchors of weeknight broadcasts, and possibly why there are so few gay ones.
These allegations about not being “too gay” by being married or having kids does reinforce the idea that those few openly gay weeknight anchors in local television are often presented with few personal details. It explains why they are rarely photographed with men on their arms or with partners. It also likely explains why so many are in the closet.