Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage



'Positive reactions' follow local hockey player coming out
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 3324 times since Wed Jan 22, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Anthony Arnoni is the senior skating king for the co-op Leyden Eagles, a four-year varsity hockey player in jersey No. 22 who shoots left-handed and plays defense.

The 17-year-old Franklin Park resident attends East Leyden High School and still is undecided on his schooling plans for next fall.

"It is very hard to pinpoint one single memory, but I would definitely say that the state hockey tournaments have been my favorite," he said.

The 2020 Illinois High School Hockey State Tournament kicks off in late January, culminating with the state championship at the United Center in March. Arnoni and the Eagles will look to upend defending Combined Division State Champion Waubonsie/Metea—a tall task, as the reigning champions have been ranked in the state's Top 25 all season and Waubonsie/Metea features some of the most skilled players in Illinois.

Arnoni's final state tournament also will be his first as an openly gay hockey player.

"I slowly started to come out to individual people, [beginning] with my best friend Julie in December 2018. After that I [told] my closest friends until [last] march when I finally made an Instagram post for everyone to see," Arnoni said. "My coming out wasn't a normal coming out. Typically, when people [come out], especially in the [sports] world, there is a stigmatism or hesitation that other people [might not face]. In my case, I had an immediate outpouring of positive reactions. My family, friends, coaches, teammates and others were super happy. I figured the locker room atmosphere would change, and I couldn't have been more wrong. Everyone was extremely [supportive]; you would have thought nothing had happened."

Arnoni said coming-out instantly changed his life—for the better.

"School became easier; hanging out with friends became stress-free, and life just got more fun," he said. "It definitely was the right thing to do for my mental health."

And his hockey, too, which dates to his younger years skating for the Franklin Park Panthers.

Arnoni praised Leyden head coach Pat Terretta and the entire coaching staff. They talked to him after coming-out and Terretta said that if he needed anything, they will be there for him. "My coaches reassured me that they are by my side."

His teammates also have been supportive, starting with his defensive partner Daniel Determann, a longtime and close friend.

The players also have talked about off-ice relationships, good and bad—including Arnoni.

"Sitting and talking with my teammates one day and discussing our boy/girl troubles," he began, "This is one memory that resonates with me because I remember thinking to myself how, a conversation that I was never really able to participate in, I was now being listened to just as my other teammates are used to and thought of how beautiful it was that these people still cared about what was going on in my life, regardless of whether it was a boy or girl [I was attracted to].

"Another memory that comes to mind was one time when I was out with my friends. I was thinking to myself how different, yet how normal, things have evolved into within a matter of a month. Every aspect of my life had stayed the same, expect I was looking through a completely different lens."

Arnoni has received worldwide responses and support since coming-out, including coverage in the Chicago Tribune. Within 72 hours after a column about his coming-out was posted on, Arnoni had people reaching out to him from such countries as Turkey, Poland, Canada, Hungry, France and the Dominican Republic.

Arnoni also heard from other in-the-closet students at his school and nearby schools.

Even out CNN broadcaster Anderson Cooper reached out to him.

"About a week after my Outsports article was released, I received an email from Anderson Cooper, [who] congratulated me and told me how inspiring my story had been," Arnoni said.

"All you have to [do] in life is [be] a good person and a good friend to others," adding that sexual orientation does not matter.

Arnoni has only heard anti-gay trash-talking in one game, and was admittedly surprised. "Almost every team that we played has been respectful and not crossed the line when trash-talking," he said.

"When I was playing while in the closet, I felt like I wasn't mentally in the sport like I wanted to be. I was more worried about the way that I acted, talked, and presented myself than how I played. After I came out, I was allowed, ironically, by myself, to just play the game from raw emotion without any worries."

So, Arnoni's advice is to not worry about whether coming out is going to make others upset.

"For years people have been fighting to get where we are today and even though the fight isn't over, being your true self is the best way you can help," he said. "Unapologetically, be who you are because at the end of the day, as long you can live your life, that's all that matters."

Arnoni's coming-out was assisted by Dylan Geick, who was a wrestler at Stevenson High School in suburban Lincolnshire. Arnoni watched Geick's coming-out video on YouTube and "got my last bit of courage to do it myself," he said.

Geick went on to wrestle for Columbia University in New York.

"Last January I [was] a scared boy who didn't have a clue about the events that [were] about to unfold. I [was] desperate for someone to reach out and help, or guide me in some way, to show me that everything is going to be OK," Arnoni said. "Today, I [am] a completely new person, yet someone who hasn't changed at all. I am still the same loud, annoying, funny person that I have always been, except I now have a stronger sense of self-confidence and joy when I look into the future.

"Before my journey, whenever I would think of the future, I would be scared and shutter at the thought of moving forward. Now I am eager to take on new adventures and am not scared to go through life, waiting to see what each chapter holds. I can now see a future that all I have to be worried about is the uncertainties and unfamiliarity just as everyone else normally is.

"I no longer have to be scared to be myself."

This past fall, Arnoni was named his high school's homecoming king—a development that surprised him.

"I was overwhelmed with love from everyone in my school, even [from] kids that I don't know," he said. "Hearing everyone cheer for me made me feel happy that there is proof that times had changed, and people look past others' sexuality and judge one another off personality."

As Arnoni skates his final high school games over the coming months, his future is anchored on a tattoo he shares with his mom. It reads "EXHALE," and it's based on the movie Love, Simon.

"There is a scene [in the movie] where the mother tells her son that since he came out, he can now exhale," Arnoni said.

This article shared 3324 times since Wed Jan 22, 2020
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

Blackhawks hire woman as player development coach 2020-11-24
- The Chicago Blackhawks hired U.S. women's national team captain Kendall Coyne Schofield as a player development coach and promoted Meghan Hunter, previously general manager Stan Bowman's executive assistant, to director ...

Gay News

Chicago Red Stars announce annual #SHEINSPIRESME award winners 2020-11-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO (November 23, 2020) — The Chicago Red Stars announced the three winners of the 2020 #SHEINSPIRESME award. The Chicago Red Stars #SHEINSPIRESME Award is an annual award that is presented to women who exemplify leadership, ...

Gay News

Women's soccer league announces 2021 competition framework 2020-11-18
- The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) announced a new competition framework to debut in 2021 that aims to expand opportunities for the athletes of the league to showcase the NWSL. Players will report to camp Feb. ...

Gay News

Three Red Stars selected for upcoming U.S. WNT Camp 2020-11-17
- The United States Women's National Team announced its roster for the upcoming camp overseas against the Netherlands. The two countries will face off Friday, Nov. 27 at 12:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. local and will ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ RuPaul, LGBTQ athletes, film winners, Charles Busch 2020-11-02
- RuPaul has a lot of irons in the fire, according to Not only is she on the cover of Cosmopolitan UK's January 2021 issue, but the drag icon has also posted her new five-track Hey Sis, It's Christmas EP. Also, ...

Gay News

Chicago offers new contracts or exercises options for all 23 Chicago Red Stars players 2020-10-30
--From a press release - CHICAGO — After the completion of the 2020 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) end of year process, the Chicago Red Stars have announced contract statuses for all of its players. All of Chicago's 23 rostered players ...

Gay News

Seth G.: Finding out what unites, divides while biking across America 2020-10-29
- Seth G. (actual name: Seth Gottesdiener) is on a journey—and a mission. The fitness professional/social-justice activist—seen as a leader in Los Angeles' LGBTQ community—is biking from L.A. to Washington, D.C. ...

Gay News

Women's pro soccer draft Nov. 12 2020-10-15
- The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) announced that the 2020 NWSL Expansion Draft, featuring Racing Louisville Football Club, will take place Thursday, Nov. 12. The trade/waiver window beginning the expansion draft process will close Oct. ...

Gay News

World Rugby bans trans women players 2020-10-11
- International body World Rugby ruled Oct. 9 that transgender women may not participate in elite and international women's rugby, Reuters reported. In new guidelines, World Rugby said the naturally acquired physical benefits that trans women receive ...

Gay News

Red Stars add new player, lose finale and are part of national camp 2020-10-11
- The Chicago Red Stars announced the signing of Ella Stevens. The club selected Stevens with the 24th pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft. She made her first appearance for the Red Stars on a short-term contract ...

Gay News

Chicago Sky's Courtney Vandersloot named to All-WNBA First Team 2020-10-11
- Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot was named to the 2020 All-WNBA First Team. It marks the second straight All-WNBA First Team selection for Vandersloot, who also made the First Team in 2019. This season Vandersloot became ...

Gay News

Nominations open for Chicago Red Stars' #SHEINSPIRESME Award 2020-10-01
- The Chicago Red Stars announced that nominations are now open for the 2020 #SHEINSPIRESME Award. The Chicago Red Stars #SHEINSPIRESME Award is an annual award that is presented to women who exemplify leadership, practice social responsibility, ...

Gay News

30 Under 30 Awards 2000-2019 2020-09-30
- Honoring local LGBTQ people 30 and younger who excelled in entertainment, politics, health, activism, academics, sports and other areas, Windy City Times' 30 Under 30 Awards ceremonies, which started in 2000, were held during Pride Month. ...

Gay News

Lendale Johnson, excelling on and off the tennis court 2020-09-29
- Some would say that Lendale Johnson has accomplished enough in being one of only two male openly gay professional tennis players. (Johnson's part of the International Tennis Federation. It is separate from the Association of Tennis ...

Gay News

Red Stars tie Washington 1-1 2020-09-27
- Savannah McCaskill scored in the 72nd minute as the Chicago Red Stars played to a 1-1 tie against the Washington Spirit on Sept. 26. For the second straight game, Sarah Luebbert earned an assist with her ...


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 Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

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.