Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

What Magic Johnson Told His Son Struggling To Come Out: 'We Just Want You To Love Yourself'

LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

Earlier this week Magic Johnson made headlines for saying that he supported his 20-year-old son EJ who was recently spotted in public with his boyfriend.

We're used to seeing TMZ fire off questions to celebrities on the fly, but Johnson sat down for a relatively lengthy interview with Harvey Levin to talk about his son coming out as gay as well as battling homophobia in athletic and black communities.

The former Lakers star said that he, not his son EJ, initiated his son's coming out. Johnson said he had suspected his son was gay, and he brought up the subject when his son was 12. He described the conversation to TMZ: "I told him ‘Hey, we are here to support you, man. We just want you to love yourself and also make sure that you have all the information."

Even though Johnson isn't gay, he has long been associated with the gay rights movement since he publicly revealed that he was HIV positive in 1991. That connection to the community and his history battling the stigma around HIV helped seems to have helped him connect to his son and prepare him for the inevitable backlash after coming out.

Support for LAist comes from

Johnson said that he hopes his son's coming out could be a positive step for athletic and African-American communities.

I've been in the gay movement for a long time because of HIV/AIDS, and so I see young men who are black who couldn't come out who couldn't tell their parents they were fearful of what would happen with their neighbors and everyone down the street. So now it's my son there, and I'm hoping that they understand that this is year 2013. And so we should stop discriminating against people and just support them and that's what I'm going to do with my son.

Even Kobe Bryant who was fined for using a homophobic slur just a few years ago, applauded Magic Johnson's support of his son.Johnson said that to date, no athletes have come up to him asking for advice on how to come out about HIV or being gay. But he has had friends of closeted people ask him for help indirectly, and he expects to see more athletes coming out in the years ahead.

Here's the first part of the interview

Support for LAist comes from

In this section, Johnson talks about combating cultural homophobic influences, including religion:

Johnson talks about homophobia in the athletic community:

Related:
In Sports, Coming Out Stories Leave No Lasting Impact
Video: 20 Years Ago Today, Magic Johnson Announced He Has HIV and Is Retiring