Zeke Thomas opens up about sexual assault with new single, donates proceeds GLAAD

Zeke Thomas, the openly gay son of NBA legend Isiah Thomas, makes his debut as a solo artist exclusively on Billboard.com with his new single “Dealin’ With It”. The track, produced by Zeke and featuring his vocals for the first time ever, uses the accessibility of music as a platform to open up an important dialogue on sexual assault. 

Earlier this year, Zeke sat down with Good Morning America and New York Magazine to share his own experiences with sexual assault and to specifically bring awareness to the issue among men. "Dealin’ With It" explores how complicated and difficult it can be to come to terms with an experience of sexual assault, and the work towards recovery that follows. You can watch the video for Dealin’ With It exclusively on Billboard and hear more about Zeke Thomas’ story. **Some of the scenes and themes in the video may be upsetting and/or triggering, please gauge your own comfortablity with the content before viewing.** 

Proceeds from the single will be given to GLAAD and National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). 

NSVRC, the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence, stresses that:

“All too often, survivors are aware that those around them have expectations about how they will heal and cope, which can add unneeded pressure and anxiety during a time that is already confusing and stressful. LGBTQ+ survivors, like Zeke, rarely have the opportunity to speak out, and our culture rarely offers opportunities or lends an ear for these individuals to share their stories. It is crucial for us to honor survivors of all gender orientations and identities.” 

By sharing his story, Zeke is giving us not only an opportunity to listen and reflect but also to reach others who are dealing with similar feelings and experiences. Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s Chief Communications Officer says:

“Zeke is using his platform and music to powerfully shed light on an issue that too often flies under the radar. By telling his story and bravely living his truth, Zeke is quickly becoming a LGBTQ voice to watch.” 

GLAAD sat down with Zeke to talk about both the value in sharing stories of sexual assault survival and LGBTQ representation in the music industry.

Tell us a bit about your new song and its significance.

Dealin’ With It is about overcoming trauma. My trauma is sexual assault but there are many types of trauma that exist in this world. Deal with it. Get better and heal. That’s my advice to us all. 

Why do you think it’s important to share your story?

It’s not only for my own healing, but to encourage positive change. 1 in 6 males have been sexually assaulted. We must stand up and make noise on this issue and let people know they aren't alone. 

What message do you have for other survivors of sexual assault?

The message that I have for other survivors and allies is that you can and you will overcome it. It will take work. But I believe your stories and I believe in you. I understand you and you are loved. I want you to know there are many resources at your fingertips to tap into and there is no shame in asking for help. I asked for help and it saved me. 

Why do you think LGBTQ representation is important in music?

LGBTQ representation is important in music because music is the best and most universal form of expression and release. The arts are an amazing way to express your deepest emotions you want to get out. Speaking about our issues and stories and living in our truth together openly is something that we must continue to do and share with the world always. It's the only way to ensure we create that space for those who currently cannot. 

 What message do you have for LGBTQ youth?

The message I have for the LGBTQ youth is simply stated. No matter what obstacles your situation presents you with, you can overcome it. All races, social and economic backgrounds, and creeds deal with similar human condition issues and as a community we must come together. We are diverse, we are loving and we are worthy of love. 

Have you had any supportive messages on Instagram that have spoken to you?

Social media has been an amazing outlet both for victims and survivors to reach out to me for encouragement or advice but also for myself to connect with other survivors. Speaking about sexual assault and rape is a difficult topic but dealing with the trauma afterwards is an on-going effort for me that is best served by talking about it. That's my ultimate mission- keep people talking about it and stop allowing it to be ignored or shamed. 

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article or know someone who has, click here for resources and support from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.