Here's the introduction ad chapters 1 & 2. I would love to hear what you think! Launch date is June 1st
Was there anything I could do to stop my son’s homosexuality? When did I know my son was gay? What made him that way? I've witnessed the desperation in the eyes of fathers, from all walks of life, who have pulled me aside, away from listening ears, wanting to know the answers to their questions, analyzing the possibilities of why their son might be gay, some weren’t even sure that their sons were gay.
Mothers seem to be more liberal about their son’s decisions to choose what makes them happy in life, and most importantly, "who" they share their lives with. However, for fathers, nine times out of ten, the topic is taboo. Especially the fathers who I've met in Federal prison or on the opposite end of the spectrum working with celebrities in the entertainment business.
I can tell you this though, I never thought I would write a book and never a book on a topic like this, but life is funny that way. I found myself raising a son at 18 years old; I was still a kid myself, with a baby boy headed down that taboo highway. I was confused, frustrated, and angry at the world. "Why me?" I often thought in those early days... “Why has life thrown me this crazy curve ball?”
Back then it wasn't so easy to talk to my friends about my son’s odd behavior, some things you just didn't talk about it. So I struggled alone, doing everything I could to stop the unstoppable because I wanted a son who would grow to be a man like me. I wanted a son that had lots girlfriends and would one day save up three months’ salary at his very manly job and place an engagement ring on the finger of the woman who stole his heart, his beautiful future wife, not some... "Life Partner”.
Back then, with my limited knowledge of being gay, I would picture a pervert, infected with AIDS that molested little boys, because isn't that what homosexuals do? In the crowd I hung out with I wasn't the only person to think that way. If Drew chose that path, I was fully prepared to relinquish any and every association I had with him.
I know what you’re thinking. How could you feel that way about your own son, gay or not?
I had a tough mindset, even being a teen-aged dad. I thought that I could at least solve the problem for the both of us. If he hated me he wouldn’t want to see me, which was cool with me. I didn’t want to see him walking around with a limp wrist anyway. I was at a crossroad without a compass, with no one to advise me on such an unorthodox situation.
Didn't most fathers disassociate themselves from their child, once they found out that they were going to like men?
I pushed back the wall, my son’s gay future, with both hands, fighting, cursing, and questioning both God and my sanity. I'm old school and hard-headed with the way I think, believing I could change what was meant to be.
My experience should help any person that has someone in his or her life that lives differently, specifically if that person is your gay or lesbian child. Stereotypes attached to homosexuality have a staggering effect on society. I retained many of those stereotypes, I used derogatory terms, made queer jokes and laughed openly at any one living the alternative lifestyle. Ironically, the Universe thought it was appropriate to put me in the situation of having a gay son. Me... Eddie Wright... Street Entrepreneur... Ladies’ man and hustler.
The critical point to be made here dear readers, was that as a black man, I, myself was being prejudiced against my own flesh and blood. As a Black man in America, that's a hard pill to swallow and very embarrassing to admit.
This book is meant to teach other fathers and all parents of gay children the lessons I learned the hard way, and should start a discussion on having a meaningful relationship between fathers and their children no matter whether they choose to live gay, straight, or somewhere in between.
This book is the “Voice for the Silent Fathers” for those going through the same thing I went through and my voice will be silent no more.
I was raised by my single, white mother in the suburbs of Suffolk County, Long Island along with my sister, Mimi who is 3 years older than me. Our African American father played a limited role in our lives. He moved back to Rochester, New York when I was two months old.
Visiting with my father for a few weeks in the summer wasn't enough to make a big impact on me. Let me correct that, it wasn't enough to instill the positive impact a young black male needs.
I wanted the type of dad that all of my friends had. The dad that took you to Yankees games, and stood in the yard throwing the football around, but my father never made much of an effort. It was like he wasn’t interested in being involved with my life. Looking back to those early days, they were definitely a few contributing factors for me turning to the criminal lifestyle.
I promised myself that I would be the father I needed instead of the father I had. But who would have thought that fatherhood would propose such a catastrophe that I would start second guessing that very promise?
My son Drew was born September 20,1990. I don't know if homosexuality is a biological or mental condition. I never thought Drew would grow up making the conscious decision to be gay, the way other kids were making plans to become firefighters, police officers, or doctors.
When I would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would tell me all the normal kid choices, he never straight out said, "Dad, I want to be a gay ballerina dancer!" However, as a father with a keen street intuition, I sensed something abnormal was having an effect on Drew.
At a very young age, he began displaying mannerisms similar to his mother. He started sucking his teeth and rolling his eyes. He would tilt his head and alter his voice to imitate a girlish tone and it would get on my nerves. This was happening when he was around four or five years old, and I avoided paying too much attention to those signs for fear of re-reinforcing those flamboyant behaviors.
Around others, especially the women in Drew’s life, I was depicted as "Mr. Macho”. I was the bad guy who was always "over-reacting" when I addressed and attempted to correct certain mannerisms that just couldn't be ignored.
My "Gaydar" was active watching all his behaviors for a "Gayness Alert!" which would make me rush in, like the heterosexual swat team, to stop whatever he was doing and make it more boyish.
Other adults would tell me that my son would grow out of his feminine mannerisms, but what if he grew into them? No one had an answer for that!
I've heard a lot of theories in the media on what causes homosexuality, and although I'm not an expert and I don’t have a degree in psychology or some other certification printed and framed, hanging dusty on display for all to see, I am the father of the gayest son on earth. When I say gay, I don't mean the quiet closet type, maybe that I could have handled. But no… The son that I was meant to father was doing Lady Gaga impressions in full drag queen attire while still in his mother’s womb, born to show the world what being gay, proud and loud really meant, and lucky me, I had a front row seat.
Questions plagued my mind, searching for answers, maybe even a "cure" for my son’s condition.
Was it in his genes? I don't remember having any gay relatives on my side of the family. Was it programmed into his D.N.A.? Or was my son choosing to be gay? If so, then I should’ve had the right to choose if I wanted a gay son, which of course I didn’t. Show me a father who does. No one could really blame me for cutting off all ties if he chooses living life as a homosexual. Some people will even say that God justifies abandoning my gay son.
But really? Is that who I was going to choose to be? Isn't that what my father did to me? My mother had to take him to court to pay child support, while constantly nagging him to be more in me and Mimi's lives. Who knows? Who really even cared right then because I was trying to figure out what the fuck was I supposed to do with this baby that's captured my heart, whose mother is a spawn straight from hell that appeared to be doing all types of stupid shit in support of his sissy behavior. And what about my reputation to protect in these streets? How many gangsters got gay sons? None that I know of and I'd be dammed to be the first. I was torn with the emotional conflict with not knowing what to do. Especially at times when everything with my son would be normal as hell and out of nowhere Bam!!I was sucked right into the twilight zone.
The first time I saw Drew was three months after he was born, in front of the C-Town grocery store, with his mother Jennifer. She was pushing his stroller.
My girlfriend at the time, Rosa, was in the passenger seat of my black two door mustang, so I kept driving by with just that quick short glimpse of him.
Everyone I knew was asking if I was his father. Being immature, scared and naïve, I had my reasons why I denied it but my sister Mimi had been picking Drew up on the weekends since he was born, playing the aunt role, making the situation harder for me to ignore. After weeks of inner turmoil, and sleepless nights staying up wondering if I was Drew's father, I spoke with Mimi and agreed to get a closer look by spending some time with Drew.
As soon as I laid eyes on him, instinctively I knew. His tan skin, dark brown eyes, and beautiful smile made me understand why everyone said we were related, but at eighteen years old with my whole life ahead of me, I thought I was too young to be a father and deep down I knew I wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility.
My angel of a mother, who always stood by me through thick and thin, right or wrong, supported me but stayed neutral between myself and Jennifer. She always had a loving spirit for everyone. She's like a second mother to all of my friends growing up. So when she walked in the house to find me with a four-month-old smiling baby Drew, sitting together on the living room couch, she changed into Grandmother mode right on the spot, accepting Drew with open arms and a loving heart.
"Why hello gorgeous!" she said placing her purse on the chair then picking up Drew, carefully holding him close beaming her big grandmotherly smile which Drew reflected right back. They smiled at each other as he received a warm hug and a barrage of kisses.
Drew was an adorably cute baby; I'm not just saying that because he's mine either. He lit up any room and every person that came into contact with him couldn't help but smile. He was a beautiful child.
"Now this is one good looking boy" my mother said.
"Eddie" she joked "You were the best looking, but now you've been knocked down a notch by Drew here. By the way, thanks for making me a grandmother. I'm only in my forties you know."
"That's yet to be determined for sure ma" I had to let her know.
"Well thanks anyway son."
We shared some nice quality time with Drew, and Mom made the butterflies flipping around in my stomach disappear.
My mother was a social worker at Bay Shore Family Health Center, so she understood the difficulties that teen-aged parents faced. She made sure I knew that I wasn't alone. My mom always listened, neither agreeing nor disagreeing, when I would protest my doubts about being Drew's father... because it wasn't all peaches and cream. I'll explain...
First off Drew is named after one of Jennifer's ex-boyfriends, now put yourself in my shoes, how would you react? It bothered the hell out of me. I was upset, I had no say in the matter and I'm supposed to just be ok with that? I wasn't. So of course I questioned whether or not I was his dad despite his cute baby looks.
Naming a child after another man is a red flag.
Jennifer despised me because I denied being Drew's father, for reasons more obvious than that, so we had major parenting conflicts right from the beginning. I personally hated her for luring me into her life, making me believe I could trust her. She swooned in and took my virginity then betrayed me by sleeping with too many of my friends. Yeah, this chick was devious. Our relationship was poisoned and it affected how we parented Drew. She brainwashed him, with me as the bad guy.
There were too many times when I went to pick him up and he would scream, like really scream, at the top of his lungs “No, no, no! Please mama, please no! Don't make me I don't want to go!". Tears would be flowing freely down his little red face.
Shit, I was the bad guy right from the beginning. I'm thinking... You want me to be his father but you’re going to make it as difficult as possible for me to do so...Jennifer had issues and it reflected in her parenting. I'm not putting her down, but I'm just telling the way it was for me, and it got a lot worse...
When Drew flipped out and put on one of his shows I would look to Jennifer and her mother Julie for support, especially since I told you, I was still a teenager myself. Well Jennifer and her mother actually took pleasure in the hard time Drew gave me!
They did everything but high five each other while I dealt with a twisting, pouting, screaming for his life Drew. It was all an act, of course, but the way he was screaming and hollering you would think I was cutting his fingers off, one at a time! His behavior puzzled me, as I was always kind and warm toward him, the best version of a loving father I could be.
Meanwhile, Jennifer and her mother stood side by side arms crossed, cigarettes dangling from their lips, mocking me, just enjoying the show.
But here's the strange part of this story...
Once the coast was clear and no one was around, the performance would stop. Drew would calm down and resume being a normal, cute kid.
I was puzzled… Was this normal? Were there other dads dealing with this same scenario?
I hated picking up Drew from her house. When I would pick him up from Mimi's apartment there was no big seen or horror act, just hugs and kisses but every other weekend it was the "Drew Show" at Jennifer's.
Living with my mother helped in my role as a young father. She was always willing to watch Drew when I wanted to hang-out with my friends and go back to living my life for me.
My mother had no idea that the life I chose was to be a gangster, an adult decision too complicated for my young mind, a decision that would later change my life forever!
I was doing a little bit of everything. Loan sharking, check cashing, chop shops, and merchandise that fell off the back of trucks, well let’s just say a lot of trucks went through my hands. I was hustling hard dabbling in everything, but my main focus was narcotics.
Weed, coke, ecstasy, if it made fast money, I was quick to sell it.
I needed it, wanted it and put long hours in the streets just to get it.
But I wasn't always like this…
At first I was washing dishes, bussing tables. You know, working hard at low paying honest jobs… I tried it all, I was never intentionally looking for an easy way out, my mother didn't raise me like that but life is expensive, especially in Long Island. Slaving away at minimum wage wasn't out of the question because I did it until one night that job almost got me killed.
Everyone says "I'm not working at McDonalds, no way… I can't be seen there." Well, who got humbled and hired at McDonalds? You guessed it. Me! But then…
I was a good employee and actually counting the chicken nuggets headed for the trash bin when two men walked in the back like they owned the place!
"My Man!" one shouted, addressing me "Where's the manager?" as his partner stepped up, putting the muzzle of a 12 gauge shot gun barrel inches from my face. I could smell the cold steel and a faint hint of gun powder. This wasn't the first time I had a gun pointed at me so I didn't panic, knowing they were here for the money, so I answered
"She's right here!"
Gesturing to the, now wide eyed, manager counting stacks of cash from the register. They moved past with the one aiming at me while the other guy grabbed the managers arm, demanding for her to give up the loot from the safe.
My brain was racing second by second. I was asking myself if I should I be a hero here and dive at the gun in an attempt to wrestle it out of his hands? I was sizing them both up, as the options flew through my mind.
The nugget fry baskets were sitting in hot oil. Maybe I can swing one of them, hitting him in the face, the oil will burn his skin, and then somehow get the gun. My adrenaline was rushing, pumping me up for some action, but common sense told me to slow it down and show some restraint! So far no one had gotten hurt, I figured, “Maybe it would stay that way if they got the cash and left, or maybe it wouldn't...”
My quick assessment made me feel like I was the biggest threat and since these guys weren't wearing masks, it wasn't a good position to be in. If they watched too many mafia movies they might shoot us all, leaving no witnesses. I wasn't in the mood to have my brains blown out over a Big Mac and Quarter Pounder.
They looked unsure of themselves and jittery, I had to speak and guide everyone through this. Eye to eye staring down the black tunnel of the shot gun barrel I asked...
"Yo! You guys want us to put our hands up?"
"Yeah" shot gun man replied "Everyone put your hands up!" he threw me a look, not sure what I was up to. We shared a moment of silence between us, I saw my shot to take control asking
"You want us to lie down on the floor?"
"Yeah " he said a bit more confidently raising his chin up a little.
So far so good, I thought, at least they haven't gone crazy yet. I could tell it was their first robbery, they were unorganized and out of sync with each other. The orchestration of this armed robbery in progress needed to go smoothly, so everybody could make it out alive.
That became my plan, as I was sure my manager, who nervously did everything the other guy asked, didn't receive this kind of preparation training at McDonalds University.
The last thing I wanted was to die over some burgers and fries at the hands of two desperate amateurs, not much older than I was.
In a matter of minutes -of which seemed like several hours- they got the cash from the safe, draws, and night deposit, stepped over our bodies lying on the floor and left. I made myself a promise that night that I would never risk working in a legit job for someone else again.
That experience changed my perspective on life. I began taking the necessary steps, committing myself to being a hustler.
After graduating high school, making my mother extremely proud, I kept that momentum going by taking the liberal arts program at Suffolk Community College to give the appearance of being on the right track. All this academic work was a cover while accomplishing my goal… My main focus, building my criminal enterprise.
A few guys working for me took care of my business in the streets, keeping an eye on our block when I made time to be with Drew. I'll admit, once I pulled a cover move using Drew's innocence as a tactic in case I got pulled over with drugs in the vehicle and Murphy’s law kicked in... Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, believe me. I did in fact get pulled over with him in the car coming back from meeting with my drug connect.
Facing twenty years in prison-that didn't concern me.
Thousands in drug money lost in the trunk, didn't faze me either.
Only one thing bothered me.
The thought of cops happily slapping the cuffs on me in front of a scared, crying, Drew broke my heart. So many thoughts ran through my mind, D.S.S workers would take Drew away from us, everyone would call me a piece of shit, my mother’s heart would be broken.
But I was lucky that day. Promising myself never to take a risk like that again, I took my ticket and got my ass home.
I made sure no one in my family knew anything about the extent of my illegal activities, which ended up being a job in and of itself, but for me it was worth it. That was the last trip Drew ever took with me to do anything illegal.