Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

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

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

GAY GAMES: SWIMMING Luis Balaguer comes full circle in Germany
by Ross Forman
2010-08-01

This article shared 4009 times since Sun Aug 1, 2010
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Luis Balaguer was stationed in Germany while serving in the Army back in 1988-90. This was, of course, before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

He'd visit Cologne on weekends with a couple of soldier friends "and I loved it," he said.

"It's such a beautiful city," Balaguer said. "Just before the end of my tour of Germany, I was being investigated by military intelligence. They were trying to determine if I was gay. They were cleaning house and dishonorably discharging gays. I was fortunate ( or unfortunate, not really sure ) because I was not found out, or maybe just ignored, and sent to my next duty station and off to war during Desert Shield/Storm for seven months."

He was ultimately honorably discharged in 1992.

"Some of my friends in Germany weren't so fortunate and were dishonorably discharged for being gay. I don't know whatever happened to them. That was my last memory of Germany," Balaguer said. "Being part of that investigation was one of the hardest things I've ever endured."

In 1993, Balaguer participated in the March on Washington as part of the color guard in full military uniform. "I decided then that I was never hiding again and that I would do whatever I could to be as visible as possible, so future generations wouldn't have to endure the shame and humiliation that I had had to."

Balaguer, now 42 and living in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, is now the vice president for a staffing company. He is going back to Germany this summer for the Gay Games, competing in multiple swimming events.

"Going back to Germany to compete as an openly gay athlete is more than about winning a medal for me," he said. "Don't get me wrong; I love the thrill of competition and I'm training my hardest to do the best I can. If by chance I place, that would make this experience that much sweeter. I think that if I place my partner Dan [ Casper ] will be more forgiving of all of the time I've spent training. Actually, he's been wonderfully supportive. My schedule has been very rigid and he's been very understanding and accommodating. I love him so much."

Balaguer will compete in Cologne in multiple freestyle swimming meets, a sport he took up only three years ago. He also will compete in some relay races with the Chicago Smelts.

This will be his first major LGBT sporting event.

"I'd love to place, but the reality is, I started swimming much later in life than, what seems like, 99 percent of the swimmers that I swim with and I'm in a very competitive age bracket," Balaguer said. "I'm busting my [ butt ] to prepare and I'm going to be proud of whatever I achieve at the Games. If nothing else, I'm going to be in the best shape I've been in the past seven years.

"For me, competing in the Gay Games isn't just about the competition. It's about creating more visibility for gay and lesbian people. It's about paving the way for future generations [ of ] gays, lesbians and straights. I'm fortunate to live as an openly gay man, fiancé, son and business leader. I'm very happy. I don't take it for granted, for a minute, that someone before me paved the way by being visible, taking some punches along the way, and some fatal."

More about Luis Balaguer:

—On the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago: "I was thrilled for us when we were named the host city for the 2006 Games. I have to admit that I didn't go to any of the events, but I did go to the opening ceremonies and the closing ceremonies. Being at Soldier Field with all of the athletes, the supporters and Mayor [ Daley ] was a very proud moment for me as a gay man. I just felt that we had arrived at another milestone on our road to equality."

—Partner Dan Casper: "I've been with him for five years. Longest engagement ever, three years. We are waiting for marriage to become legal in the state. He'd argue that I actually have two partners, the other being the pool."

—Schooling: Balaguer graduated from Chicago's Lincoln Park High School in 1986. He also graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a B.A. in photography, and the Keller Graduate School of Management, with a master's in human-resources management.

—Hobbies: Photography, cooking, travel, biking and running

—Superstitions: "I try to ignore these. My mom and my partner have enough for both of us."

—Little-known fact, skill or trait: "I think that I'm pretty much an open book, so I don't know that I have anything to share. If anything, I think that a lot of people think that I take great care of body, [ by ] eating really healthy. That's so not true. My favorite lunch consists of a slice or two of pepperoni pizza and French fries. Yum! My favorite breakfast consists of multiple courses at M. Henry's and favorite dinners include a pint of French vanilla ice cream. My swim coach, Nick Early, or strength trainer, Bradley Heit, don't need to know this."

—Greatest sporting accomplishment: Riding in the top 6% during the AIDS Rides. "Sure, it wasn't a competition, but it sure felt good."

—Favorite sports team: "I'll cheer for any Chicago sports team."

—Favorite pro athlete: "I'm not much of a sports fan, but my friends would say that my favorite pro athlete is Joe Crede … and not necessarily for his sports ability."


This article shared 4009 times since Sun Aug 1, 2010
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

MUSIC Indie band Fleece is queering country
2021-10-24
Eight years ago, gay songwriter and lead singer Matt Rogers and his friend, bisexual drummer Ethan Soil, founded Montreal quartet Fleece. A few years later, bisexual vocalist Megan Ennenberg and straight man Jameson Daniel—who are both ...


Gay News

Dozens of celebrities, companies set to take part in Spirit Day on Oct. 21
2021-10-15
--From a press release - New York, NY, Thursday, October 14, 2021 - Today, GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced a preliminary list of celebrities, shows ...


Gay News

DRAG Utica Queen finds a home in Chicago
2021-10-12
Ethan Mundt rose to fame as Utica Queen in season 13 of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race. Ultimately placing sixth in the competition, this young, gay 25-year-old showed creativity and personality. Mundt's latest project, Homecoming ...


Gay News

Billy Masters
2021-10-11
"I kept hearing about Fat Bear Week and thought it was a celebration of body positivity within a gay subculture. It turns out it is about actual bears! Either way, I am here for it."—Lynda Carter ...


Gay News

WORLD Japan politics, video games, lesbian tennis player, Mr. Gay World
2021-10-10
LGBTQ+-rights activists were hoping Japan would finally allow same-sex marriage if Taro Kono, who has publicly supported same-sex marriage, became the country's next prime minister—but their hopes were dashed. Japan's ...


Gay News

MOVIES Colman Domingo to star in Bayard Rustin biopic
2021-10-09
LGBTQ+ actor Colman Domingo—who has been in movies such as Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Candyman, and TV shows ranging from Fear the Walking Dead to The Big Gay Sketch Show—has landed the lead role the ...


Gay News

SPORTS Muguruza wins Chicago Fall Tennis Classic
2021-10-04
On Oct. 3, Garbine Muguruza strengthened her qualifying chances for the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara after coming back from a set and a break down to win the last 10 games to defeat Ons Jabeur, 3-6, ...


Gay News

WORLD Movie items, tennis survey, German politics, Thai court
2021-10-03
Kenya's Film Censorship Board (KFCB) banned I Am Samuel, claiming the documentary—which has a gay protagonist—contravenes Kenyan values, Human Rights Watch noted. In a statement, the KFCB denounced the film ...


Gay News

LGBT History Month: Dutch gay man defied the Nazis and saved thousands
2021-10-03
In the final days before his execution in July 1943 at the hands of the Nazi party, Willem Arondeus asked his lawyer for one last request: to spread a message after he was gone. "Let it be known," he said. "Homosexuals ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Moulin Rouge!,' gay play 'The Inheritance' win top Tonys
2021-09-27
Moulin Rouge! The Musical was the runaway winner at the Tony Awards on Sept. 26, snagging 10 awards. Among its honors were Best Musical, Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical ...


Gay News

Nearly two-thirds of Swiss residents vote for marriage equality
2021-09-26
Almost two-thirds of Switzerland's voters backed the government's plan to introduce same-sex marriage in a referendum held Sept. 26, with campaigners calling it a historic day for gay rights in Switzerland, Yahoo! News reported, citing AFP. ...


Gay News

Indiana students sue over gay-straight club's alleged treatment
2021-09-24
In Pendleton, Indiana, a group of Pendleton Heights High School students has filed a lawsuit against the school and South Madison Community School Corporation over allegations that the school has been treating its Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) ...


Gay News

OPALGA+ Scholarship Gala taking place Oct. 23
2021-09-21
The 2021 OPALGA+ (Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association+) Scholarship Gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 23, at Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Cocktails will begin at 6 p.m., with the program/dinner ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Shang-Chi' actor in anti-gay controversy
2021-09-20
Actor Simu Liu—the star of the latest Marvel action movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—is embroiled in controversy over alleged Reddit comments he made about how pedophilia is "no different from being gay," ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes
2021-09-19
Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...


 



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.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


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.