Danny Roberts became a public face for the LGBTQ rights movement 22 years ago when he was one of seven housemates to appear on MTV’s “The Real World: New Orleans.”
While Roberts may no longer be one of the few visibly out gay people on TV, his presence on the show has brought to light many of the challenges that members of the LGBTQ community continue to face in 2022.
HuffPost caught a sneak peek at this week’s episode of “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans,” in which Roberts has a difficult conversation regarding his sexuality with housemate Matt Smith.
“God created each of us,” Smith, a devout Catholic, tells Roberts at one point. “For me, I’ll never understand how God created you.”
Catch a clip from this week’s episode of “Real World Homecoming: New Orleans” below.
True to form, Roberts takes the awkward confrontation in stride.
“I call it spiritual bypassing ― the idea of loving the sinner, hating the sin,” he explains. “That’s where a lot of the world stands right now. It’s where a lot of my family stands, and I call it our very own ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.”
It’s a fitting analogy given Roberts’ real-life plight on the original “Real World: New Orleans.” At the time, he had an army officer boyfriend whose face had to be blurred on air so that he wouldn’t lose his job under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that barred openly LGBTQ people from serving in the military from 1994 to 2011.
Now 44, Roberts resides in Vermont with his 6-year-old daughter, Naya, and works as a tech recruiter. In spite of his initial reservations, he said filming “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans” turned out to be a “redeeming” experience.
“None of us, as individuals, are people that thrive on drama or seek it out,” he told HuffPost in April. “Our goal was the opposite: simply to come to New Orleans and reunite with old friends. Most of us hadn’t seen in each other in 20 years.”
New episodes of “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans” premiere Wednesdays on Paramount+.