Richie Jackson on What It Takes to Be Gay in America Right Now
In Conversation with Roxanne Coady
on the Just the Right Book Podcast
Richie Jackson has always felt lucky to be gay, and the single dream and drive of his life has always been to be a father. In May 2000, luck and dreams melded, and his son was born. In due time, his son too announced that he was gay. Was Richie relieved that his son was born into a more dramatically welcoming world? Comforted that gay no longer needed to be a defining quality? The answer was simple: no.
This week on Just the Right Book, Richie Jackson joins Roxanne Coady to discuss his latest book, Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son, out now from Harper.
From the episode:
Richie Jackson: I hope what people take from my book is what it takes to be gay in America right now. They might read it and say, I had no idea what you have to do and go through on a daily basis. Hopefully, they see things differently. People often say they don’t care if you’re gay or not, but we want them to care so they’re part of our rights. My personhood is not up for politics; you can’t be pro or con on my family. The safety of my family and community should not only be for legitimate politics and political platforms to talk about.
Roxanne Coady: The worry that we’re seeing, and that leads to the chaos in the Democratic party, is the siloing of issues. You have an issue. I have an issue. They have an issue. You have candidates targeting that silo. How do we manage to get a candidate or Democratic party with a bigger tent?
Richie Jackson: From what I hear from your question, I hear silo but other people say identity politics. For me, I don’t think there is anything wrong with identity politics. It’s basically people demanding to be heard. The thing is that we have to coalesce around someone eventually.
Richie Jackson is currently producing Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song on Broadway. He executive produced Showtime’s Nurse Jackie (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for “Best Comedy Series”) for seven seasons and co-executive produced the film Shortbus, written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell. He and his husband, Jordan Roth, were honored with The Trevor Project’s 2016 Trevor Hero Award. They live in New York City with their two sons.
Roxanne Coady is owner of R.J. Julia, one of the leading independent booksellers in the United States, which—since 1990—has been a community resource not only for books, but for the exchange of ideas. In 1998, Coady founded Read To Grow, which provides books for newborns and children and encourages parents to read to their children from birth. RTG has distributed over 1.5 million books.