“Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son” by Richie Jackson— A Love Letter

Jackson, Richie, “Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son”, Harper, 2020.

A Love Letter

Amos Lassen

Award-winning Broadway, TV and film producer Richie Jackson looks back on his experiences as a gay man in America and the progress and setbacks of the LGBTQ community over the last 50 years. Joshua, his son, born through surrogacy, came out to him when he was eighteen and Richie was 50.  This is what caused Jackson to reflect on his experiences and share his wisdom on life for LGBTQ Americans. Richie celebrates gay identity and parenting, and a powerful warning for his son, other gay men and the world. Jackson takes us on his journey as a gay man coming of age through decades of political and cultural turmoil. 

Joshua lives in a seemingly more liberated America, and Jackson shows how far we’ve come since Stonewall — the increased visibility of gay people in society, the legal right to marry, and the existence of a drug to prevent HIV. However,  bigotry is on the rise and it is ignited by a president who has declared war on the gay community and is the cause of a good deal homophobia. The Supreme Court has a conservative tilt and is poised to overturn equality laws. Jackson writes  that being gay is a gift but that the GLBT community’s gains are in jeopardy and cannot not be complacent. 

Jackson gives us a rallying cry in this personal exploration of our uncertain times and most troubling questions and profound concerns about issues as fundamental as dignity, equality, and justice. 

This is a blueprint for our time that explains what it’s like to be gay in America and an angry, proud, fierce, tender cultural manifesto that will stand the test of time. It is also a powerful letter of love from a father to a son. Jackson shows us what it means to be a parent and what he says reminds us that being open to love and making it the central focus of our lives lets us find and ‘use our deepest inner wisdom.” 
We are reminded of the journey we have taken and that we must share this with those coming up and coming out. Using his own  experiences growing up gay, he talks to his son about family and friendship, sex and relationships, anger and citizenship.