Orlando "El Fenomeno"Cruz, the first openly gay active professional boxer, is scheduled to serve as Grand Marshal of the Chicago 49th Annual Pride Parade on Sunday June 24 at 12 Noon.
When he came out in 2012 he stated, " ....I want to be true to myself. I want to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."
He received great support from fellow boxers, as well as singer Ricky Martin and actress Sonia Braga, among others. In an interview at the time, he said that he received great support from the Puerto Rican people, " They gave me their support, their care and their love." LGBTQ communities also embraced him, as more and more celebrities across different fields have been coming out in recent years.
His talents enabled him to represent Puerto Rico at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and to win the World Boxing Organizational Featherweight Title in 2016. He has held four world boxing titles. He was among the first class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Cruz currently operates a gym in Puerto Rico where young athletes train to improve and potentially become professional athletes themselves. He will be fighting in the near future again for another World Title in boxing.
On June 16, Orlando Cruz will be honored by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center as "King" of the Chicago Puerto Rican People's Parade.
A week later, on June 24, Orlando will serve as Grand Marshal, leading the procession in the Chicago Pride Parade.
FOR MORE INFORMATION : www.ChicagoPrideCalendar.org ( The web site will be continually updated from now throughout June Pride Month. )