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 2020-08-05
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Amaechi's Grand Gig
by Ross Forman

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

He visited the bars in Boystown and dined at Lakeview area sidewalk cafes.

For a couple days before the 38th annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade on June 24—and on the evening of Pride Sunday as well—John Amaechi, was simply a gay man enjoying the gayest part of Chicago, and doing so with, well, pride.

'This was a different side of Chicago than what I was used to seeing while I played here,' said Amaechi, the only National Basketball Association ( NBA ) player, current or retired, to reveal he is gay.

Amaechi was the parade's grand marshal, a role he also held for Pride parades this summer in Salt Lake City ( where he played part of his NBA career ) and in Los Angeles.

'Salt Lake was a much smaller, but vibrant Pride. Los Angeles was … Los Angeles; it was Hollywood, truly. But Chicago is the big deal,' said Amaechi, whose autobiography, Man in the Middle, was released this past February and was a New York Times best-seller. 'Chicago was … slightly crazy; it's a pretty well-developed gay neighborhood. It's been a blast.'

Amaechi said he was not nervous before the parade, which attracted about 450,000 worldwide attendees. 'I'm just hoping I don't disappoint; that's the key,' he said.

Amaechi spoke with reporters from Chicago-area television stations before the parade. He also willingly posed for numerous photos and signed plenty of autographs.

And he also endured the barking of anti-gay protesters.

'People need to look with great suspicion upon those people who would use the name of God for hatred,' Amaechi said. 'I don't make myself bold enough to speak for Jesus [ Christ ] or for God, but I have a feeling that, if we think about what would Jesus do, which side of the fence would He be standing on, I don't think it's with [ the anti-gay group ] .'

Chicago has welcomed three former professional athletes to town in recent years to serve as the grand marshal: Billy Bean ( baseball ) , Esera Tuaolo ( football ) and Amaechi.

'It's great to have John as the grand marshal. He's a great role model,' said Richard Pfeiffer, Chicago's parade coordinator.

Amaechi said the Pride parade represents several things, including, 'a celebration,' and 'a great way for communities to support each other.'

The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Amaechi, 36, who played at Penn State University, made his NBA debut during the 1995-96 season with Cleveland. He also played for Orlando and Utah during a five-year career that spanned 294 regular-season games.

'I feel very honored to be chosen [ as the grand marshal ] . This is my chance to say 'thank you' to all of the people who have been so warm and supportive over the last few months,' he said. 'It's a way for me to give back a little bit and hopefully show people that gay people come in all shapes and sizes ... and I'm just one of them.

'The response to me and the book [ over the past few months ] has been overwhelmingly positive. I've been really pleased with [ the response ] .'

Amaechi said that, like many in the LGBT community, he lived two very different lives while playing in the NBA—his lives on and off the court. 'That's not great for personal performance and it's not great for a team or a unit; in many ways it's less than ideal,' he said. 'When people have the opportunity to come out and be themselves in the workplace, it creates a positive environment for everybody; it creates an enhanced feeling and I think you get more out of people, so I'm hoping that will happen more and more.'

Amaechi added that he is still single—primarily because of an impossibly hectic schedule. His travel plans for June include stops in 19 cities, 'so it's almost impossible [ to date. ] '

Pfeiffer, who has been involved with the Chicago Pride Parade since the second one and the coordinator since the fourth, said the 2007 version was 'bigger' than 2006, if only because there was no rain.

The 40th annual Pride Parade in 2009 'probably will have a special theme,' Pfeiffer confirmed. The 2008 parade will have an international theme, he said.

Chicago, Los Angeles and New York host the three-oldest domestic parades. The largest U.S. Pride parades, in order, are San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, Pfeiffer said.

facebook twitter pin it 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.


Gay News

House members demand LGBTQ Pride flags be allowed on military installations 2020-07-31 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Armed Services Committee Vice Chair and 30-year Army veteran Congressman Anthony Brown ( MD-04 ), Subcommittee on Military Personnel ...

Gay News

WORLD Israel's lawmakers, Poland, Pride flag, Global Pride grants 2020-07-21 - Israel swore in its latest openly gay lawmaker recently—marking a record for the country considered a regional pioneer on LGBT rights despite opposition ...

Gay News

Pentagon confirms LGBTQ Pride flag banned 2020-07-17 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Modern Military Association of America, the nation's largest LGBTQ military and veteran non-profit organization, responded to Secretary Mark Esper's ...

Gay News

WORLD African country's pro-LGBT move, Pride marches, lesbian singer 2020-07-07 - In a landmark decision on July 6, the Senate of Gabon voted to decriminalize same-sex relations with 59 votes in favor, 17 against ...

Gay News

World-first Global LGBTQIA+ Pride viewed by 57M+ 2020-07-06 - Global Pride, the 27-hour virtual Pride that took place on June 27, reached a worldwide audience of 57,050,978 viewers in at least 163 ...

Gay News

Chicago Sky hosts 'Unapologetically You' Pride virtual panel 2020-07-02 - In honor of Pride month, the Chicago Sky held a virtual panel "Being Unapologetically You" June 23 focused on success stories from three ...

Gay News

Gov. Pritzker issues Pride proclamation 2020-07-01 - On June 30, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker marked Pride Month with a statement of celebration. "Thanks to the tireless help of advocates and ...

Gay News

21st Ward holds own Pride event 2020-07-01 - Chicago's 21st Ward—an area on the city's South Side that includes neighborhoods such as parts of Auburn Gresham, Washington Heights, Gresham, Chatham and ...

Gay News

New honorees named for Nat'l LGBTQ Wall of Honor at Stonewall Inn 2020-06-30 - New York, NY—During last year's 50th anniversary celebrations of the Stonewall Riots, the oldest LGBTQ organization in North America, The International Imperial Court ...

Gay News

Lighthouse hosting virtual Black Queer Pride on July 3-5 2020-06-30 - On July 3-5, Lighthouse Foundation will host a virtual Black Queer Pride in celebration of the organization's first-year anniversary. The organization aims ...


Copyright © 2020 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  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar 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 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.