Born in Seattle, Mr. Griggs lived on the streets after being cast out by his family for failing to...
Born in Seattle, Mr. Griggs lived on the streets after being cast out by his family for failing to "fit in," and he has incorporated some of these painful experiences of youth into his moving tale of a boxer’s journey.
"Killer Queen" packs such an emotional punch, in fact, that it has inspired the creation of a nonprofit organization, the Empowerment Center for Youth, that specializes in training young gay boxers.
"The play intertwined with a strong belief I had that boxing can help disempowered gay youth to make an informed decision about how to handle themselves," said Mr. Onello, who was so taken with the play that he decided to start the center with one of his students, Steven Mele.
Mr. Griggs, a 42-year-old dramatist and performer in San Francisco, trained at several gyms before meeting Mr. Onello, 44, two years ago. Their chemistry inspired him to write Mr. Onello into the play, a one-man show (except for Mr. Onello’s cameo) about being gay in the hyper-heteronormative world of boxing.