His family was devastated when they learned he was using drugs, moving from marijuana to cocaine and finally, heroin. CJ ended up in a rehab program. But on Jan. 26, 2009, he died of an overdose. He was 20 years old.
“Isolation and drugs are a deadly combination,” says Marcia.
They can’t know for sure if his death was accidental, but they believe it was.
“I think he was looking for that euphoria,” she says.
Marcia and Ken are lifelong Catholics but left their Quincy church of 20 years and joined Dignity Boston, which describes itself as “a progressive, inclusive community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Catholics and our allies.”
Marcia explains why: “I would sit in church and feel the pain . . . that my child was not going to be fully accepted in this Catholic church that we had been part of and my children had been active in.”
Though their son is gone, Ken and Marcia remain active in gay and transgender causes. They are proud of CJ and how he stood up for who he knew he was. No doubt, he was proud of them, too.
Bella English lives in Milton. She can be reached at email@example.com.