“Michael was 32 when we first met and he had never been on a date!”
With everything going on in the world, it was a real treat last week to report on the engagement of a gay couple at a Chicago Bulls game.
During a time out, Jake Conrad proposed to his Bulls superfan boyfriend, Michael Holtzman—with some assistance from the Bulls front office, team mascot Benny the Bull and the Luvabulls cheerleaders. The outpouring of support for the couple—and the Bulls—reminds us that our allies are everywhere.
Jake reached out to us this week to say he and Michael have also been blown away by all the positive feedback. Below, we share the email he sent to us, along with some recent post-proposal photos!
It is truly remarkable to witness the inclusion and acceptance from all of those who shared our experience. Even at the game, we had people coming up and congratulating us all night… We are awestruck by the courage of the Chicago Bulls organization, especially. The LGBTQ community know all too well that anyone who defies the norm can become subject to judgement and criticism. They took a giant step towards inclusion, acceptance and equality by putting together an unbelievably special moment in front of 21,000 people.
The organization made a dream come true in fairy tale fashion for Michael. I may be biased, but he honestly couldn’t be more deserving of such a special day.
Michael was 32 when we first met and he had never been on a date! He lost his mother when he was 25, and had cherished being with his family and his cat wholeheartedly. He’d known he was gay since age 12, but had never told anyone about it—and had definitely never been searching for romance.
As time goes by, I become more and more attracted to Michael’s quiet and demure personality. He isn’t passionate about many things, but he absolutely loves basketball. A ’90s kid at heart, he is always reminding me about the legendary Chicago Bulls dynasty.
In June 2015, I headed to Pennsylvania as I pursued a new career in coaching, and we pursued the turbulence of long distance relationship. We knew it would be hard, but we were confident our love would last. As we drove out of Chicago, I was feeling sentimental (having lived in there all of my life) and told him, “Before I die, I want us to go backpacking through Europe.”
Perhaps it was just his very calm temperament, but Michael appeared concerned. He waited a bit and said, “Do you know what I want to do before I die? Go to a Chicago Bulls game.”
There was an element of confusion in my mind as we went from backpacking in Europe to a Bulls game. But I wanted to avoid criticizing, so I just asked him to elaborate. He exclaimed, “I’ve always wanted to see the statue of Michael Jordan up close.”
Believe it or not, we will be celebrating our new life as an engaged couple at the Milwaukee Bucks-Chicago Bulls game in Milwaukee on Thursday and again when they square off in Chicago on Friday.
Thank you for your kind words about our magical moment, and for the passionate work that you and Logo do every day on behalf of the LGBT people here and across America. We all need a little heartwarming during the cold winter in the Midwest!
I have included some photos: Work resumed, though coaching soccer for little kiddos should hardly be considered work!
Wishing you an incredible holiday season,
Michael & Jake
Thank you guys—it’s only by people like you trusting in love and their fellow man that we can report such wonderful stories. May you have many more blessings to come.