Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



John Amaechi: On a 'Grand' Scale
by Ross Forman

This article shared 3164 times since Wed Jun 20, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

John Amaechi was invited to serve as the grand marshal for eight Gay Pride parades this year, and accepted three offers: from Los Angeles, Utah and Chicago.

But no one informed the former National Basketball Association ( NBA ) player how big the Chicago parade is.

'Oh my God, I didn't realize there would be that many people,' Amaechi said when he was told that the Chicago Gay Pride Parade ( June 24 ) will attract more than 400,000 viewers and participants from across the LGBT community.

'I wasn't sure I was Grand Marshal material; I don't know if I'm quite 'fun enough or exuberant enough,' but I definitely am honored by the request,' Amaechi said. 'It's something I'm really looking forward to.'

The Los Angeles parade was June 10, while Utah's version, held in Amaechi's old basketball stomping grounds of Salt Lake City, was June 3.

Richard Pfeiffer, organizer for the Chicago parade, sent Amaechi an e-mail invitation to serve as the Grand Marshal immediately after he came out in February, mostly because Amaechi was so visible in the media after coming out.

'Frankly, I didn't think we'd get him. I thought he'd go [ to parades ] in New York or Los Angles, but just thought we'd give it a shot,' Pfeiffer said.

In mid-March, Amaechi confirmed he would participate in Chicago, 'and I was speechless,' Pfeiffer said.

'John is not as well-known worldwide as [ 2006's Grand Marshal ] George Takei, but he certainly is well-known in his own right and also very timely. 'We're thrilled to have John as the grand marshal. We feel he's a great role model.'

The problem is that Amaechi doesn't know much about Chicago, even though he played against the Bulls for years.

'To be honest, I've never really spent a lot of time in Chicago. I've never been to Boystown; I've never hung out there. In fact, I think it's ridiculous that I've lived in this country this long, been almost everywhere, yet never explored Chicago or Boystown. So it's actually like a strange city for me,' Amaechi said. 'Chicago is going to be a totally new experience for me, and it's going to be terrifying now that I know there will be 400,000 [ attendees ] .'

Amaechi said he was slow to respond to the Chicago organizers' invitation because 'I just don't know what to expect.' He's been to a Pride Parade in England, but never in the United States.

'I guess I need to perfect my royal wave,' he said, laughing. 'It's exciting, but a complete unknown to me. I'm hoping I just going to get caught up in the moment, and hopefully not embarrass myself.'

Windy City Times got Amaechi's thoughts about a variety of other topics:

On the massacre at Virginia Tech:

'My first reaction was, I was horrified. I called several people that day to turn on the television, if they hadn't already. We all watched aghast as we saw the number of people who had [ died ] , especially as that number kept rising and we heard the details of [ the day ] .'

On former Penn State University women's basketball coach Rene Portland who resigned in late March amid allegations that she may have discriminated against lesbian players:

'People like her are incongruent with institutions of higher learning; these are places that are supposed to be bastions of creativity, inclusion and progress. And they shouldn't be held back by people like her.

'It was absolutely appropriate [ that she resigned ] . It's been a long time coming.'

Amaechi, who attended Penn State, returned to the State College, Pa., campus recently for the Distinguished Speakers Program, which brings people from all walks of life to PSU to address students.

'It was amazing. I was really pleased that my first official speech at a college was at Penn State. I was honored.'

On Don Imus:

'I don't know a lot about Don Imus, but, from what I've heard, [ the Rutgers-related statement ] was just the culmination of many, many inappropriate comments from him.'

On his life since revealing he is gay:

'The biggest surprise is that I completely underestimated America. I underestimated college students. I underestimated businessman, Black people, white people, men, women [ and ] the straight community. I thought when I came out that it would be the end of most of my friendships.

I thought I would face a torrent of fire, that people would be picketing outside my hotel rooms. But the fact is, although I've had some pretty wild and negative comments, they have been so drowned out by the majority of the comments,' which have been positive.

This article shared 3164 times since Wed Jun 20, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Taiwan's Kaohsiung Pride to host WorldPride in 2025 2021-11-13
- InterPride announced that Kaohsiung Pride, in Taiwan, has won the bid to host WorldPride in 2025. With this vote by InterPride members, a WorldPride event will be held in East Asia for the first time. The ...

Gay News

Red Stars score historic win, qualify for playoffs 2021-10-30
- The Chicago Red Stars defeated the Orlando Pride, 1-0, at Exploria Stadium on Oct. 29, according to SB Nation. Kealia Watt's second-half goal was the difference, and it ensured that Chicago would host an opponent (to ...

Gay News

THEATER 'A Michael Martin Tribute' Nov. 11-28 2021-10-27
- Curious Theatre Branch will host a three-week celebration of the solo performance monologues of the late Michael Martin, curated by Kelly Anchors. A Michael Martin Tribute will take place Nov. 11-28 at Pride Arts Center, 4139 ...

Gay News

Campus Pride releases list of worst anti-LGBTQ schools 2021-10-25
- Campus Pride officially released its 2021 Worst List, naming 180 campuses across the country as "the absolute worst, most unsafe campuses for LGBTQ youth." The colleges and universities included in this year's list have either received ...

Gay News

lllinois Holocaust Museum hosts talk on Stonewall and the LGBTQ-rights movement 2021-10-24
- On Oct. 17, Skokie's Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center hosted a "Legacy of Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement" panel discussion to kick off its latest exhibit, "Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement." ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Red Stars power past Orlando 1-0 2021-10-14
- The Chicago Red Stars, behind an early Kealia Watt goal and a clean sheet from Cassie Miller, defeated the Orlando Pride at home (Bridgeview's SeatGeek Stadium) Oct. 13 by a score of 1-0. During the game's ...

Gay News

LGBTQ History Month: Pauli Murray, architect of history 2021-10-13
By Victoria A. Brownworth - (Note: The pronouns she/her are used in keeping with Murray's own writings, but Murray was a transmasculine and gender-nonconforming lesbian.) Some say Pauli Murray is the most important U.S. activist many have never heard of. An ...

Gay News

Coming Out for LGBTQ+ History 2021-10-11
- October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a day established in 1988 by members of the LGBTQ+ community to encourage people to stop hiding and be open about their identity. Coming out increases visibility of the ...

Gay News

Pride Fest sees rainbows over rain 2021-10-05
- After last year's COVID-related cancellation, the LGBTQ+-focused outdoor affair Pride Fest returned to Lake View after a delay of a few months, as it usually takes place in June. An additional full day was added to ...

Gay News

Urban Village Church hosting drag worship service, Pride prom Oct. 10 2021-10-04
- On Sunday, Oct. 10, Urban Village Church (UVC) will host a drag worship service at its Wicker Park site, 1012 N. Noble St. Worship begins at 10:30 a.m. (CST) with performances from local drag artists, including ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago White Sox hold Pride Night 2021-10-04
- On Sept. 29, the Chicago White Sox held Pride Night. LGBTQ+ activist Gary Chichester threw the first pitch of the game—which featured the White Sox taking on the Cincinnati Reds—at Guaranteed Rate field. BMO Harris invited ...

Gay News

WORLD Marches, world leaders, Swiss marriage, soccer match 2021-09-26
- Thousands of people including soldiers and diplomats marched peacefully through the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in an annual Pride parade despite some opposition to an event called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters ...

Gay News

Naper Pride hosts inaugural Pride fest 2021-09-16
- Naper Pride held its inaugural pride fest event, "Coming Together, One Community—One Naperville," on Sept. 11-12 in Naperville. Incidentally, "Coming Together, One Community—One Naperville" was also Naper Pride's organizational philosoph ...

Gay News

OneWheaton to mark 10th Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 8-9 2021-09-15
- OneWheaton—a group of LGBTQA alumni and students of Wheaton College—will mark its 10th annual Homecoming Weekend with virtual activities on Oct. 8-9. On Oct. 8, at 6 p.m., there will be an LGBTQIA Storytelling Hour. Attendees ...

Gay News

Pride Fest will extend to Oct. 3; headliners include Kristine W and Mya 2021-09-12
- Mya, Shangela, VINCINT, Crystal Waters, Kristine W, Brooke Eden and St. Panther are among the headliners for Chicago Pride Fest now taking place over three days, Oct. 1-3, in Chicago's LGBTQ+ landmark Northalsted/Lake View district. The ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.




About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.