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 2020-05-27
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Binational gay couple talk health scare, sharing at OUTspoken!
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2015-09-30

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Tyler Greene and Ziwu Zhou's love story has had many twists and turns, and it all started on a snowy, cold January night in 2012.

Greene, who was house sitting for a friend, decided to check out his OK Cupid account and he happened to see Zhou's profile. Greene messaged Zhou, who had just left Jackhammer and was heading home, and a short time later Zhou had taken Greene up on his offer to come over and meet him.

"That night he read to me and told me all this personal information about himself and we made out a little bit, but didn't take it any further," said Zhou. "I was texting a friend on the way home the next day and told them I met someone, and for me that's unusual since it takes me longer than one sort of date to realize if this is right person."

"We were dating for a month and on Valentine's Day we went to Hopleaf, and after that we were outside of Hamburger Mary's and that's when I told him that I loved him," said Greene. "Ziwu said it back to me but he doesn't remember saying it that night. I remember that night being very romantic. I thought he was someone who was very different from me and could test me in many different ways."

Before moving to Chicago to attend graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago ( MFA in Visual Communication ), Zhou lived in China. He was born in a small town in the Hubei Province and moved a couple of times within the province with his parents before attending Tsinghua University where he received a BA in Information Arts and Design. Zhou now works as an interactive graphic design engineer at HP Software.

"I came out after grad school to my best friend Jinyoung and a year later I met Tyler," said Zhou. "I decided that if I was in a relationship with someone important then I would tell my parents and get their blessing. Tyler and I had been dating for about a year so I decided that I was going to come out to my parents during my annual visit for the Chinese New Year. I came out to my mom the night before I returned to the states while we were staying on the 28th floor of a hotel in Beijing. She told me that if it weren't for her parents, she would jump out of the hotel room window. I told her that if she jumped I would jump too. She couldn't believe it and thought it was a choice. We didn't say anything to my dad at the time but my mom told my dad three days after I left China. I told my mom that I was dating Tyler but she didn't want to hear anything about my relationship and told me to break up with him. China is very different because there isn't much infrastructure for families of LGBT people. My mom finally told her parents and two brothers and they were really supportive of me being gay and that helped my mom a lot."

Shortly after his visit to Beijing, Zhou's doctors found a tumor in his spinal cord that required immediate surgery. Zhou had chronic shoulder and back pain for years and after seeing a chiropractor she recommended that he get an X-ray since nothing she did was helping to alleviate his pain. The X-ray didn't show any irregularities but his chiropractor wasn't convinced and got him an appointment to get an MRI. That's when the doctors found the mass in his spinal cord.

It took Zhou three months to recover and, while he was in the hospital, Greene stayed with him every night. Zhou's parents were still coming to terms with his being gay, so he had to hide the fact that he was in the hospital recovering from surgery; they would ask who was taking care of him and he couldn't say it was his boyfriend. Earlier this year, Zhou finally told his family about the surgery and revealed that he'd been living with Green all along. Greene explained that Zhou's parents have accepted him into their lives and thanked him for being there for their son. Now when Zhou Skypes his parents, Greene is right by his side.

"Ziwu's grandma, who is almost 90 and has been a part of nearly every social strata within China, was the one who was the most accepting," said Greene. "She really wants me to visit China."

Greene—who is the Assistant House Manager for Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, Events Coordinator for all of WBEZ's live events and Producer for The Moth-Chicago StorySLAM—grew up in the small town of Galesburg, Michigan. He graduated from Kalamazoo College with a BA in Theatre Arts-Media Studies. While attending college, Greene did an internship in NYC and worked as a production assistant on an off-Broadway play directed by Terry Kinney ( one of the original founders Steppenwolf Theatre ) and spent a year in the study abroad program at University of London, Goldsmiths College.

After graduating from college, Greene spent a year teaching English in South Korea and, since he already knew people in Chicago, he decided to move here when that assignment was finished. His first job was as About Face Theatre's social media coordinator before moving on to the Steppenwolf Theater as a call center representative.

With Greene's experience in the storytelling realm, it was only natural for him to eventually tell his own story. When he was asked to participate in Sidetrack's storytelling series OUTspoken! he decided to recount Zhou's surgery story and how that brought them even closer together. Right after Greene finished his story, Zhou proposed to him in front of everyone and Greene immediately said yes.

"It was the right moment because he was telling my surgery story to an audience," said Zhou. "While Tyler was telling the story, I was reliving that experience and got so emotional and was shaking. At the last moment it occurred to me that I had to propose right then, because there wasn't going to be a better moment than that moment. We'd already planned on getting married but no one had officially proposed. Tyler told me that if anyone was going to propose it would have to be me because he'd be too nervous to do it."

"Never in a bazillion years did I ever imagine that he would propose that night," said Greene.

The couple will be married on Oct. 11 at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park where Greene produces many of WBEZ's live events.

The couple is looking forward to sharing their special day with family and friends although Zhou's family won't be able to attend the ceremony. Both Greene and Zhou think it's kismet that their upcoming wedding is intertwined with the OUTspoken! storytelling series.

"There's something about OUTspoken! which has been captured by many people's sentiments. The feeling is when you walk in the room you're comfortable right away," said Greene. "Art [Johnston], David [Fink] and Kim [Hunt] and the Midwestern way that they start the show makes everyone feel welcome. Everyone leans forward and listens to the storytellers in a way that I don't see in other venues. You can feel that everyone is leaning forward while you are on stage. I was very nervous. I've heard hundreds and hundreds of stories because of The Moth. What I love is when people are vulnerable, honest and raw as well as prepared and when I listen back to my performance that's what I heard."

Greene's story was also featured on Kevin Allison's RISK! podcast under the title "Like Lovers Do."

"I was getting tweets from people who've listened to my story thanking me for sharing part of my life," said Greene. "Because of Kevin's popularity it's in the top ten of the storytelling section on iTunes. Of course everyone was coming to hear Margaret Cho but they stayed and listened to my story afterward."

To listen to Greene's OUTspoken! story, visit www.risk-show.com/podcast/meant-for-each-other and go to the 52:45 mark.


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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Gay sign-language interpreter on press conferences, LGBTQs 2020-04-01 - As a child, Michael Spencer Albert never knew how important his hands would be one day as an interpreter for the deaf community. ...


Gay News

Man behind memorial crosses diagnosed with terminal cancer 2020-03-22 - Greg Zanis—the Aurora man who has built more than 27,000 white crosses to commemorate victims of gun violence—has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, ...


Gay News

Memoir profiles lesser-known sides of Edie Windsor 2019-12-11 - Mention the name Edie Windsor, and many LGBT residents would correctly associate her with the landmark litigation that ultimately paved the way for ...


Gay News

Local designer Richard Dayhoff brings gender neutrality to collection 2019-11-26 - One thing that makes Chicago's fashion scene distinct is the variety of designers and their own signature styles. Richard Dayhoff is one of ...


Gay News

Center for Law and Social Work gives LGBTQ families equal footing 2019-11-13 - According to the Equality Illinois publication Growing Your Family: A Guide for Prospective LGBT Adoptive Parents, there are more than "34,000 same-sex couples ...


Gay News

Chicagoan helps bring nuances of foster system to the screen 2019-11-02 - Chicago attorney Jay Paul Deratany, who is gay, recently penned the screenplay for a new film about the inherent dysfunction within the U.S. ...


Gay News

Legal titan Pat Logue, and her impact on many LGBT people 2019-10-16 - Politics and social justice causes have been parts of award-winning retired Cook County Circuit Court Associate Justice Pat Logue's life since childhood. Logue, ...


Gay News

Kevin Hauswirth, an advocate committed to diversity 2019-10-15 - Since he was a child, Kevin Hauswirth knew he was destined to lead a life of advocacy. Speaking with Windy City Times, he ...


Gay News

Incoming Second Unitarian minister discusses new role 2019-09-18 - Rev. Jason Lydon, who in August took over as minister at Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, 656 W. Barry Ave., said that his ...


Gay News

DRAG PROFILE Briawna Banana 2019-09-18 - NAME "My name is an homage to three things: "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani; the British sitcom, "Keeping Up Appearances" ( It's pronounced, ...


 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



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.