Audioburst Search

Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son


And television producer. Richie Jackson is an out loud and proud gay married man and when his teenage son came out to him he was thrilled but when his son said daddy being gay is no big deal. Ritchie knew he had to act his new book. Gay like me. Father Rights to his son is Richie's response. Being gay is a gift he says it also demands knowledge of your history. And how you fit in in America. Our conversation runs the gamut including the historic candidacy of Peop- litigate. Some are actually asking if Mayor Pete is gay enough here what Richie has to say about that right now. Richardson thank you very much. For being on the PODCAST. Thank you so much for having me your book. Gay like me. A father rights to his son. I've read it full disclosure. I wrote a blurb for it because I thought it was beautiful and powerful but for those who haven't read it yet talk about what inspired you to write this book. Well thank you for your beautiful blurb and For having me I wrote the book because my husband and I have two children and when our older son was fifteen he told us he was gay and I was elated. I had wanted him to be gay. Hope to be gay. Why it was being gay is a gift. It is the best part about me. It's the most important part about me. It's been the blessing of my life. I wanted that blessing for him. And also you cam parent. If every day you pray your child is nothing like you. I have no self esteem as a parent if I did that. But when our son told us he was gay he said Daddy being gays not a big deal. My generation doesn't think being gay is a big deal and I said Oh no being gays a really big deal and I started to think of all the things I'd share with him about what it means to be a gay man. I didn't want him to grow up to be one of these people who diminishes it. Demeans it by saying gays? Just a part of me just happen to be gay. If he did that he would break on heart and diminish the gift that it is and then in two thousand sixteen donald trump was elected and brought with him the Washington Mike Pence and they've declared war on the LGBTQ community they are more of an imminent threat to our sun than Isis and North Korea. Now I had to warn him what it takes to be a gay man in America. And that was the impetus for the book you write in the book to your son. You're an American. You do all the things Americans do. You even have the dream but America doesn't want you doesn't accept you a systematically attempting to erase you schools. Don't teach about you laws. Don't fully protect you. The America you think you are part of is a mirage. You must every day. Keep a certain clarity about yourself yet. Remain keenly aware of America's vision of you when you started answering my first question. Being gay is a gift but this gift given what what? I've just read what you've written to your son. It's a gifted heavy baggage. It's harrowing to be gay and it's really hard to be gay but think about it our adversaries are not trying to diminish us because we are worthless because where a defect they know that are being gay makes us powerful think about what. Marvel's lgbtq people are. We disappointed our parents. We are at battle with our government. We are stigmatized by religions. We are bullied in our childhoods. Where raced in our classrooms. We've survived the plague and still we rise. Come out and say this is me. That is the spirit of an extraordinary species of people. You right Also my coming out wasn't only a combination of an exploration in an evolution of identity. It was a political act right that is opposite of what of what your son Jackson was thinking. It's just a part of me. It's not a big deal but for you when you came out it was a political act. And why right so I came out in nineteen ninety-three right at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and are coming out was political. We had to stand up and show in numbers. How many gay people there they were. So that we would force the government to fight AIDS being game being political has always been intrinsically linked from me because my first political act as a gay person. I act as a gay person was going to rally to demand The government fight AIDS and I. You didn't go where I thought you were going to go because I thought you're already doing my answer. I thought your first political act other than coming out was going to a pride parade and you have very strong opinions about what pride has become exactly. Well you know if you if my first political act was going to pride it would not have been a parade because back in nineteen eighty three. We were marching. We were not having a parade. They were angry marches. They were there. Were more fist than flags. We were activists who were Demanding attention demanding rights that we didn't have demanding representation. There were no out politicians. There were no out movie stars. There were very few laws protecting us so back then. Pride was A A rally a March now all the rainbows and the Hashtag love is love and the parades have all lulled us into this complacency into this false idea that things are better and corporate sponsorship. You Right Pride was a rebellion. Not a logo or handed together not branded. Yes so we didn't have any corporations and I recognized that back then we would have craved the corporate attention. Oh Yeah and Just somebody to say we see you and we support you but right now what these corporations are doing is they're slapping rainbows on their Store windows they're putting floats are parade but they also when we're not watching supporting local politicians with who are anti lgbt because it is in the best interest of their business so they're pink washing us so corporations are a complicated thing for us in our in our pride rallies in our pride rallies. But given what you just said there are corporations that step up and and go to bat for us when more powerful than our government when when state legislatures do so called Bathroom Bills Tim. Cook probably the most powerful. Ceo of a gigantic corporation put his personal cloud on the an he. He is gay right. I'm put his clout on the line. Does that no extraordinarily or you could look recently at Tennessee bills. Where all the company said. This is bad for business. They still got signed into law. The only company that did not sign that letter denouncing these laws is Fedex on. That says a lot yes You what I find fascinating is in. We're of the same the same generation and this son who has didn't really have to be in the closet. You right you were never in a closet. You didn't start. Start your gay life with that prison of secrecy. Aninat weird way was the closet or is the closet A benevolent incubator. Yeah it's interesting To sit there sitting in the closet and be able to discover yourself and and have a sense of what you're facing outside. You know one of the things I think a lot about. Is these young kids. I celebrate them coming out so young but are they ready for. What's going to come at them? Once they are out and You know the the I wouldn't know how to be our son to live in a world where he didn't I didn't start my life Hiding Eileen start my life with secrets and I think so many of us Do that that becomes a modus operandi for the rest of our lives. You can't compartmentalize secrets. So if you start your life in prison and a full of secrets hiding that's GonNa seep out to other parts of your life and my son doesn't have that and I'm grateful for your grateful for it but on the other hand you it makes you super fearful rally him. He has no idea what it takes to be an on alert. Gay Man in America. I one of the things that made me nervous and why I wrote the book is he has no gay guard and Lgbtq people our age. You know that you never let down your guard. You always know who's around you what you're saying. Who can hear you when it's safe to hold your husband's hand when it's not safe to kiss the person you love goodbye. You know What Street to walk down to get to work because it safe. You know what states to live in That are hospitable to starting a family or where you could be fired for being gay there. Were all these things. That take daily vigilance. And if you don't have a gay guard you're at risk and our son didn't didn't have that when he was leaving college looking for college and yet as you write in the book I want you to talk about about this. I'm going to read this one. This one sentence. And then you run with it us. Very Gotcha. Gotcha which you're ready. Fresh said this right now but you right just a few months old and you were already confronted with gay prejudice right so Our Son was three months premature. He was an identical twin and they were They had twin twin transfusion syndrome. They were born three months early in our first born son died and Jackson was In intensive care for three months and when he was eight days old and two pounds he had surgery and over the course of the time that he was in the hospital he needed a blood transfusion. But because we are gay men Both me and my partner at the time B. D. Wong who Who Who I had Jackson with. We were not allowed to donate blood. We were his parents. We had pledged take care of him and to you know protect him and we were being told eight days into parenting that we could not do that. And that law still That regulation from the FDA still stands. Gay Men cannot donate blood unless they're celebrate for twelve months the discriminatory Regulations still in place so when we go to our. Pta says we're doing a blood drive my husband and I have to say we're not allowed to participate

Coming up next

Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son

Cape Up with Jonathan Capehart 3 months ago

New York health officials raise concerns over spread of the coronavirus during nationwide protests

AP 24 Hour News 7 hrs ago

Minnesota launches civil rights probe into Minneapolis Police Department

WTOP 24 Hour News 7 hrs ago

CBS News poll: Many see differences in police treatment

WBBM Evening News 6 hrs ago

Poll: Americans worry COVID outbreak will worsen amid reopening

Dave Ramsey 6 hrs ago

Controversial GOP Congressman Steve King defeated in primary

Red Eye Radio 3 hrs ago

Biden Sweeps All 7 Presidential Primaries

KYW 24 Hour News 4 hrs ago

Trump says governor has "forced" new convention location for RNC

Todd Schnitt 7 hrs ago

6 Atlanta officers charged after confrontation with college students

Newsradio 950 WWJ 24 Hour News 13 hrs ago

‘Justice Needs To Be Served’: Jay-Z Calls Gov. Walz Regarding George Floyd’s Death Investigation

Colleen and Bradley 14 hrs ago

Florida emergency officials prepare for hurricane season during pandemic

KCBS Radio Midday News 15 hrs ago