Monday, August 09, 2010

Why does Isiah Thomas, the man who allegedly spread the 'Magic Johnson is gay' rumors, now support gay marriage?


Isiah and son Joshua (DJ Zeke) Thomas pose for the NOH8 campaign
On Friday, I posted the report about Isiah and Joshua (DJ Zeke) Thomas supporting the NOH8 campaign - which is great! Writer Dan Fogarty's recent column (see excerpt below) reminded me of all the nasty 'Magic is gay' rumors and it got me to thinking - Why did Isiah Thomas suddenly become so gay-friendly? Has Isiah's son, Joshua come out as a gay man? Early in 2008, Joshua was busted by cops in Indiana for underage drinking. Joshua told the cops "he was at the bar when an unidentified man asked him if he was gay," Joshua said no and "the man hit him in the eye with either his fist or a beer bottle" according to witnesses. Was Joshua Thomas just a troubled youth or a gay man struggling to come out? Later in 2008, Isiah Thomas overdosed (he denies it was a suicide attempt). Obviously, this family has gone through a lot in the last few years. I can't help but wonder that the support for marriage equality by Isiah Thomas, is in fact, support for his son, Joshua.

Dan Fogarty writes:

Isiah Thomas, who is alleged to have spread rumors about Magic Johnson’s sexuality after Johnson announced he was HIV-positive, is now posing in a new NOH8 campaign [with his son, Joshua]... Magic Johnson accused Thomas of spreading rumors about Johnson’s sexuality in the gay panic that followed Johnson’s HIV diagnosis, and Johnson says it’s what caused their once-close relationship to disintegrate. Thomas, for his part, denies ever talking behind Magic’s back.

UPDATE: Monday December 30th, 2013

In an interview published today, Michael Musto chats with Joshua (DJ Zeke) Thomas about coming out to his parents, being openly gay in the music business and having a boyfriend. Thomas, who is a successful DJ and goes by the moniker DJ Zeke, shares his experiences of dealing with homophobia and racism. Thomas has been in a relationship with his boyfriend for a few years now and says he hopes to marry some day. Below is an excerpt:
Michael Musto writes:

Michael Musto: Hi, Zeke. Do you find that the NBA is gay friendly?

Zeke Thomas: I do. When Jason Collins came out, my father said to me, “This isn’t something uncommon.” He played with gay players. He said, “Even in high school, I knew there were gay athletes.” It’s not as big an issue as the media like to make it out: “You’re gonna be shamed in the locker room!”

Michael Musto: Were you personally always out?

Zeke Thomas: I came out in 2008, my sophomore year at college. My parents like to say they always knew I was gay. I came out to them, and they were very accepting. I always knew they would be accepting. Growing up, I had gay uncles, like every kid in America. I never was so scared that my parents were going to shun or disown me—the horror stories you hear. I was just nervous about, “Are my friends gonna accept me?” because I was a jock kid, so to speak, with an athlete father. I did theater and was in the art scene, but there is a masculine connotation that comes with being an athlete’s kid. Still, I feel like those barriers of masculinity are constantly being broken down and redefined. People like to put labels on everything, and I feel stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason—most of them aren’t true. Even though I’m black and like chicken.

Michael Musto: Did any of the friends you were worried about turn out to be gay themselves?

Zeke Thomas: My straight friends, they were all straight. I had questions about some of them, but they remained straight. I had gay friends growing up, but I didn’t let them in all the way. It was kind of like a secret, with a little bit of shame. That’s something I feel hopefully will change as our country grows. No one should have to worry about who they want to be friends with and what they want to be.

Michael Musto: Was music a catharsis and an escape for you?

Zeke Thomas: Music and the arts were a place where I could be myself, no matter what. I didn’t have to hide. But had I not moved to New York, maybe I wouldn’t have come out as quickly as I did. I love my Hoosier friends and family [Zeke has a music degree from Indiana University], but let’s remember that Indiana is where the KKK was founded.

Michael Musto: You say you were a “a jock kid.” Did you feel you had to live up to some athletic standard because of your father?

Zeke Thomas: In high school, I played basketball, football, and ran track. But my dad never pressured me into those athletics. In fact, when I started doing theater, he was so thrilled about it, and he came to all my shows. I think he came to more of those than the games! He said, “You’re so good at this. You should do this.” So I did! [laughs]

Michael Musto: Have you encountered any homophobia in the business?

Zeke Thomas: Definitely, and even racism. I had a manager who told me I could never be a big DJ and be openly gay. I thought, “That makes no sense. You can’t hide who you are.” Obviously I no longer work with him.