It is tough always having to address your gender identity. As the spawn of one of the most well-known, hyper-masculine men in history, EJ Johnson has shown us what it means to be stay true to yourself, unapologetically. In 2013, the gender-bending reality TV star came out as gay. Since then, he’s used fashion as a way to express himself and push the boundaries. During an interview on E! News’ Just the Sip series, Johnson said, “I can be [masculine], I can be [feminine]. I can do whatever I want with it and work with it. If I want to [dress in drag], then I’ll do that. But I don’t want to do that all the time.” Despite the public backlash, Johnson is quite confident in who he is and who he is continuing to evolve into.
Johnson’s parents, Magic and Cookie Johnson, are quite open and accepting of their son. In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Magic Johnson discussed his feelings about EJ coming out. “I think it’s all about you not trying to decide what your daughter or son should be or what you want them to become. It’s all about loving them no matter who they are, what they decide to do,” he told DeGeneres. “When my son came out, I was so happy for him and happy for us as parents. We love him. EJ is amazing,” he continued. We live in a time where LGTBQ+ children are shunned and pushed away by their parents, family members, friends, and even strangers. According to Youth.gov, ” LGBT youth experience homelessness at higher rates than non-LGBT youth for a range of reasons, including family rejection and abuse, and a history of physical or sexual abuse.” With statistics like that, it is refreshing to see parents openly accept and embrace their children, despite their sexual orientation.
EJ Johnson defines authenticity. His choice of fashion and gender identity has been a constant source of ridicule and judgement. Still, he keeps his head held high and his heels even higher. Johnson takes the criticism with a grain of salt. It is not abnormal to find derogatory, disrespectful comments under his Instagram photos. “People are not that bold in real life. If you have something to say, you can say it to my face,” he told the host of Just the Sip.
The overwhelming message that Johnson shows us in his everyday life is to become comfortable in your own skin. The more you love and accept yourself for who you are, the less likely you’re to be affected by the outside noise. Today, on Johnson’s 27th birthday, we honor him for pushing boundaries, being an advocate for LGBTQ+ youth, and showing off those toned, fabulous legs.