Last week the world learned what basketball great Magic Johnson and his wife Cookie had known for many years—that their son, Earvin Magic Johnson, Jr. was gay. If you didn’t already respect Magic for appearing to be a stand up guy, a philanthropist and a businessman who has invested heavily in inner-cities, then perhaps he’ll earn it with his response to the “outing” of his namesake: “Cookie and I have always been proud of EJ and will always support him.”
I think most people with children have wondered at one point or another how we would react to learning that they were gay.
Decades ago, parents had excuses for not handling the news as well as Magic and Cookie. Back then there were few, if any, examples to follow. There was no Oprah or Dr. Phil out there to remind people that others were experiencing the same things that they were.
No matter what your religion, politics, or upbringing has taught you, when it comes to people, even our children, some things just are as they are. Some are left handed, some have freckles, some are attracted to the same sex as they are, and some will never feel normal living as a boy when they feel like a girl and vice versa.
The latter is the most complicated. As some people pointed out when they saw the video of EJ sporting a boa and purse, gay is one thing, “flaming” is another. Chastity Bono, the daughter of singer Cher, was so certain that she was intended to be male that she got gender reassignment surgery, hormone shots and is now living as a male.