Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-09-30
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


A Gay in the Life: Richard Z. Wright
Text by Ross Forman photos courtesy of wright
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

When Richard Z. Wright learned in the late 1980s that he was HIV-positive, he was convinced he wouldn't survive. "It was an automatic death sentence back then," he said.

Wright admitted that soon after his diagnosis, he participated in many high-risk activities, including drug use and anonymous sex. "At that time, average HIV patients didn't live two years" after being diagnosed, Wright said.

Wright, about 15 years ago, had his a-ha moment that, yes, he could thrive—not just survive—with HIV. He said, "It might sound funny, but I'd often look at watch, look up to God [in heaven] and say, 'What's keeping you?' God would reply to me that I would [die] on his time, not my time, that I still had something on earth that I hadn't completed yet.

"That's when I started doing more for other people."

And that truly is Wright's calling in 2012.

"I'm dedicated to doing something for my community instead of focusing on own carnal desires," said Wright who, every morning, does spiritual reading to help survive the daily grind. "My life now is all about helping others, and enjoying every day that has been given to me as a gift."

Wright was honored earlier this year by the Jeffery Pub on the city's South Side as the Best Patron of the Year. "I guess [the award] is for [being] the best alcoholic," joked Wright, who has been a patron at Jeffery Pub "even when I shouldn't have been," dating back to when he was only 17.

The pub is reportedly the oldest predominantly Black gay bar in the United States in its original location.

"Being a gay person of color, we still have a way to go in the gay community," Wright said. "The biggest change in the gay world that I've seen is, young people not really realizing the struggle for the freedom that the older generation went through so they have what they do today. The younger generation has no idea what went on, what we endured and encountered, such as police raids, and so much more."

Columbia College and the University of Chicago give Wright 50-100 tickets for each their theatrical performances, which Wright donates to senior citizens and veterans, mostly within the LGBT community.


Age: 56

Neighborhood: South Shore area of Chicago

Job title: Activist and advocator

Hobbies: Theater and reading

Relationship status: "Peter Pan syndrome"

Cubs or White Sox: White Sox

Favorite football team: New Orleans Saints

Personal hero: His grandfather (Sidney Harrington Smith), who raised nine children during the Great Depression

Current hero: Charlene Eure, his mom

Little-known fact: Until age 7, he stuttered.

Photos courtesy of Wright.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Binational gay couple talk health scare, sharing at OUTspoken! 2015-09-30
Chicago transgender couple are engaged, inspiring others 2015-09-30
In the Life: Avi Bowie 2015-09-23
In the Life: Kelly Thompson 2015-09-16
BUSINESS Lesbian-run business benefits from 'Shark Tank' appearance 2015-09-15
Chicago business focuses on socks of all types 2015-09-08
Chef Art Smith, artist Jesus Salgueiro talk parenting, activism 2015-09-02
BOOKS Uncovering the past: Emily Bingham is 'Irrepressible' 2015-09-02
Feminist book group turns 40 2015-09-02
Together for 29 years, Hill and Jones leaving Chicago for Santa Fe 2015-08-26
In the Life: Kevin Lee 2015-08-26
In the Life: Rich Saucedo 2015-08-19
Trikone-Chicago: A safe haven for LGBTQ South Asians 2015-08-18
In the Life: Kelly Lauren 2015-08-12
London-based twins give networking an LGBT twist 2015-08-11
United Way of Chicago launches LGBT affinity group 2015-08-05
Company launches LGBT-focused greeting cards 2015-08-05
Cell-phone company plans to benefit the LGBT community 2015-08-05
W.W. Grainger earns perfect HRC CEI score right out of the gate 2015-08-04
Local 'Masterchef' talent on clothes, Creole roots 2015-08-04
Chicagoan launches wine-purification product 2015-07-31
AIA exec Zurich Esposito living out childhood dream 2015-07-29
Hobby baker starts United Nations of Sugar Art collaborative 2015-07-28
The new era of ALMA: Association of Latino/as Motivating Action 2015-07-22
In the Life: Britta Larson 2015-07-22
Leo Burnett counts diversity, inclusion as strongest assets 2015-07-21
In the LIFE Cody Domino 2015-07-15
In the Life: Ashley Perrin 2015-07-01
Gay United Airlines pilots on their careers, life outside of work 2015-06-24
In the Life: Sage Celimene-Rowell 2015-06-24
BUSINESS Gay Chicagoan opens Wrigleyville hairstyling facility 2015-06-24
Event company aims to shatter stereotypes on Pride Weekend 2015-06-24
Video game represents LGBTQIA community 2015-06-23
Louis (LC) Johnson IV talks Currency jewelry, other endeavors 2015-06-23
Chicagoan is a proud Pezhead 2015-06-23
Boeing soars when it comes to diversity, inclusion effort 2015-06-23
In the Life: James Craig 2015-06-17
Sonoma to host LGBT business expo 2015-06-16
epoch.floral: A blooming business 2015-06-09
New Town Alano Club survives to aid LGBTs in recovery 2015-06-03

Copyright © 2015 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 Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.