Thomas Roberts criticized Russia for its recent spate of anti-gay legislation while on the red carpet of the Miss Universe pageant, held in Moscow on Saturday night.
Roberts has been documenting his trip, which began on Tuesday and culminated with the pageant held in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall.
“I know the law is very vague, and it’s still hard to interpret for many people, but it is discrimination and that’s definitive,” Roberts said outside the event.
This summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law anti-gay bill punishing citizens for “propaganda.”
Roberts has been critical of the legislation, despite telling the TODAY show he hasn’t experienced any discrimination on his trip.
“I don’t think the LGBT population in Russia or anywhere should be marginalized to that degree,” he continued on the red carpet. “We are not asking for special protection, we are just asking for equal respect.”
Roberts landed back in the U.S. on Sunday and said his overall experience in Russia was “quick and quite an education” and that the pageant experience was “hectic, nerve racking and incredible.”
And what about working to change the country’s anti-gay legislation?
“LGBT activists are doing a tremendous job to educate people,” Roberts said. “And internationally we shouldn’t stop talking about it! Those within the LGBT community and straight allies alike need to express their concern and disdain. Homophobia is an international problem…it is not unique to Russia. Together thru education, compassion and mutual respect we all have a part to play in making a difference.”