The holidays are approaching and, for many of us, that means getting together with our extended family. For LGBTQ people it also means bracing ourselves for what may come at us. Jordan and I are no different.

At a family dinner a few years ago, we found ourselves alienated when a relative declared that a baker should not be forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding. During this casual conversation, the relative seemed to be speaking about a civil rights issue as nonchalantly as if he were discussing people’s preferences for chocolate over vanilla, but to me it felt as though he was diminishing our personhood. A member of our own family was attempting to explain to us that who we are means that we are not entitled to all the rights that everyone else around that table has. As if that was perfectly logical.

And just recently another family member of ours had the audacity to tell me he thinks it’s sad I make everything about being gay. Let me translate what he really meant: I should make my gayness smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller…until he is comfortable with how gay I am.

This Thanksgiving we will go around the table, as is our custom, and each give thanks for something. When it is my turn, I intend to give thanks for being gay. I won’t scrub off, diminish, or demean my gayness for anyone. If I had, I would not have my husband, our two sons or anything to be grateful for.

I’m excited to be giving away a few pre-release copies of Gay Like Me. Click here to enter to win!


  • Richie Jackson is the author of the book Gay Like Me published by HarperCollins, an opinion columnist for The Advocate, and an award-winning Broadway, television, and film producer who produced the Tony Award-nominated Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song on Broadway and executive produced Showtime’s Nurse Jackie (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for “Best Comedy Series”) for seven seasons. As an alumnus of NYU, he endows a program at his alma mater to train the next generation of LGBTQ+ activists called the Richie Jackson LGBTQ+ Service Fellows. He and his husband, Jordan Roth, were honored with The Trevor Project’s Trevor Hero Award. They are the proud parents of two extraordinary sons.