The son of US basketball star Magic Johnson has spoken out to express surprise at the public interest surrounding his sexuality, since he recently went out hand-in-hand with his boyfriend.
20-year-old Earvin Johnson III, known as EJ, said he came out to his family several years ago, and that they were always supportive.
Magic said that he had known for a while that EJ was gay, and that he had always supported him. EJ has now spoken out to say that he was “revelling” in having come out publicly, even though he hadn’t planned to do so quite yet.
“I always wanted to come into the spotlight,” said EJ. “I always had dreams and plans of doing my own thing and creating my own image, so it came a little sooner than I thought it would but this is still something I knew I would be going through and would have to experience.”
Speaking on the YouTube talk show Gwissues, Johnson said he was not resentful that TMZ broke the news that he was gay.
EJ currently studies at New York University studying event management and design, and has an interest in fashion, journalism and media.
He said he had been subject to a range of reactions to coming out, including people saying “nasty things about me and what I’m doing.”
“It’s almost like they’re attacking me for being me and so to that I can only say, ‘Well, I can only be myself, so I don’t know really what you want me to do,” he continued.
EJ went on to say: “I am very, very, very blessed to have the family that I do.” He came out at 13 or 14, when approched by his mother.
“My parents have always been super supportive. My sister and I have always been really close and she’s been really supportive as with my brother. When it was time to come out, I was, obviously, scared as most people are. After I got all the love and support from my family then I knew I could go out and conquer the world, I guess.”
Saying he would like to have his own talk show, EJ said he would like to be “the voice for young gay people who need someone to be on TV or wherever else to talk to them and talk about all kinds of issues that all of us face and not just homosexual issues but all kinds of issues… I definitely want to set a really good example.”
Magic Johnson quit professional basketball in 1991, after he announced he was HIV positive. He has since taken over as part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Magic has also been an advocate for HIV and AIDS prevention charities, and an advocate of safe sex.
The issue of coming out is particularly topical in US professional sports, and in the US there is currently no openly gay player in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association or National Hockey League.
Last week openly gay former NFL player Kwame Harris opened up about being gay in the NFL, saying if he had the chance again he would hope to have “found the strength” to come out, and that he didn’t want gay athletes to “feel alone”.
At the beginning of March, NFL player Scott Fujita spoke out about the issue of a lack of gay players in professional sport, and said that he thinks it would “not be an issue at all” to have a gay player in the locker room.