Chosen by Town & Country as one of the most anticipated books of the year | Named "An LGBTQ Book That'll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020" by O: The Oprah Magazine
In this poignant and urgent love letter to his son, award-winning Broadway, TV and film producer Richie Jackson reflects on his experiences as a gay man in America and the progress and setbacks of the LGBTQ community over the last 50 years.
“My son is kind, responsible, and hardworking. He is ready for college. He is not ready to be a gay man living in America."
When Jackson's son born through surrogacy came out to him at age 15, the successful producer, now in his 50s, was compelled to reflect on his experiences and share his wisdom on life for LGBTQ Americans over the past half-century.
Gay Like Me is a celebration of gay identity and parenting, and a powerful warning for his son, other gay men and the world. Jackson looks back at his own journey as a gay man coming of age through decades of political and cultural turmoil.
Jackson's son lives in a seemingly more liberated America, and Jackson beautifully lays out 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. But bigotry is on the rise, ignited by a president who has declared war on the gay community and fanned the flames of homophobia. A newly constituted Supreme Court with a conservative tilt is poised to overturn equality laws and set the clock back decades. Being gay is a gift, Jackson writes, but with their gains in jeopardy, the gay community must not be complacent.
As Ta-Nehisi Coates awakened us to the continued pervasiveness of racism in America in Between the World and Me, Jackson’s rallying cry in Gay Like Me is an eye-opening indictment to straight-lash in America. This book is an intimate, personal exploration of our uncertain times and most troubling questions and profound concerns about issues as fundamental as dignity, equality, and justice.
Gay Like Me is a blueprint for our time that bridges the knowledge gap of what it’s like to be gay in America. This is a cultural manifesto that will stand the test of time. Angry, proud, fierce, tender, it is a powerful letter of love from a father to a son that holds lasting insight for us all.
Broadway producer Jackson chronicles his life as a gay man in America over the past 50 years in this heartfelt debut written as a letter to his college-bound gay son. Highlighting the differences between older and younger generations of the gay community, Jackson notes that he came out to his mother in 1984, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. He chronicles early sexual experiences; describes his relationships with his husband, theater owner Jordan Roth, and his son's other father, actor B.D. Wong; thanks such mentors as actor Harvey Fierstein, who "modeled being a good gay citizen"; and celebrates the LGBTQ artists and writers who "showed me that my own thread of otherness is part of a great expanse of a bright human fabric." He stresses the importance of knowing gay cultural and political history, and warns that the gay community's "brief liberation has emboldened our adversaries," including Donald Trump (who was a guest at his wedding to Roth). Jackson's sincerity shines through, even when he takes a back seat in his own story to focus on the representative experiences of his generation. LGBTQ readers on both ends of the age spectrum will value this earnest attempt to build a bridge between generations.
A truly raw and visceral love note from father to son. I was not prepared for the intensity of emotion conveyed by the author because it is rare indeed, but I’ll be eternally grateful for it.