Magic Johnson on learning to adopt her gay son EJ: “He replaced me”

It was 2010, and the handkerchiefs were inside. “Very European,” says EJ Johnson, the son of Maje Johnson, as he recalls when he went out to his father as a homosexual. “Even in the summer, you had your linen scarves. It was a look. And of course I shook the handkerchiefs because it was hot. And he just couldn’t stand it. »

In a new interview with Diversity Prior to the April 22 release of “They Call Me a Witch,” an Apple TV Plus documentary that covers his life and career, Johnson revealed that he initially struggled to reconcile with his son’s sexual orientation.

“When you grow up in team sports, you think,‘ is he going to play sports? ’” Johnson says. “And then I saw that he likes to play with dolls and dress up …” What are you doing? “

“I was with all my friends,” says EJ, who is now 29 years old.[My parents] were the last people I really had to talk about. It wasn’t new to me, but they really had to accept it and digest it. Especially my father because he was actually the last person to talk to him. I think it was too much for him to swallow in this conversation. Many just went back and forth. And he was just angry about things that weren’t particularly good. But he’s not someone who works in a corner or in awe. “

“He was making stupid rules: ‘There are no handkerchiefs in the house,'” EJ continued. “But it’s not really about handkerchiefs; it’s really about him seeing that you’re you.”

At the Beverly Hills Johnson home the tension was high. It was time for EJ, a 17-year-old, to spend the last few months with his family before he gained a new independence in New York City. But soon after, Johnson visited him in New York and the two re-established their relationship.

“I wasn’t there for just two months,” EJ says. He took me to my bedroom and I said, “Oh, whatever, hey.” And he hugged me so tightly – he blew air out of me like all the others. That’s when I realized that there is nothing here but love. ”

In 2013, after TMZ published photos of EJ in a black box with a male friend, he decided to make a public appearance. Now, fans from the LGBTQ community regularly turn to EJ and his parents – Maji and his mother Cookie – to express their gratitude for how the family has embraced the community and also for Johnson’s HIV / AIDS activism.

Cookie recalls: “I remember a young man coming and saying to me one day,‘ I really want to thank you and your husband for what you do. I’m gay, but I didn’t want to tell my parents. went to college, I got [HIV]. But when you talk about it and bring it to everyone’s attention, I felt like I was getting better and I would fight harder. ‘”

But not everyone accepted that. “You get the other side, too,” Johnson says. “A lot of people don’t like that I love my son.”

However, this is not important for Johnson. “He replaced me,” Johnson says of EJ. “She was very proud. This couple is just proud of who they are here.

“When I grew up, when my wife talked to me, I couldn’t [judge EJ]. I have to accept who he is and who he wanted to be. She really helped me get there. Because she was very proud. “Look in the mirror,” Cookie said. I told you the truth. Because I’m proud of who I am. And he took it from me. “

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