Sure! We don’t have to freak out every single time an athlete comes out of the closet, then proceed to plaster his face onto every sports magazine to show how far we’ve come as a society… But gosh, I’ve got to admit I felt an uncharacteristic amount of warmth filling my soul when I read on that WWE wrestler Darren Young revealed to he is, indeed, gay:
“Darren was at LAX Wednesday when we asked whether a gay wrestler could succeed in WWE, and Darren laughed, saying, ‘Absolutely. Look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.’ For the record, Darren is now the first openly gay wrestler ever at WWE … and the first headlining wrestler ever to come out while still signed to a major promotion.”
This, um, feels like a big deal to me.
Around the time I was coming to terms with my sexuality, my cousin and best friend got me into professional wrestling. This led to a bizarre crush on, of all people, , as well as a not-so-bizarre insecurity about my feelings toward men. The machismo and homophobic undertones were at an all-time high at this point in the wrestling universe. You didn’t have straight allies like CM Punk coming out in support of marriage equality (which isn’t particularly surprising since, back then, marriage equality hardly seemed like a possibility).
While it’s not as if Darren’s nonchalant confession makes me want to pick up the remote and start watching pro-wrestling again, it gives me hope that other guys like me won’t feel as isolated when they’re tuned in to Raw and SmackDown. There’s the chance it could just lead to more bad gay “jokes” and further fuel homophobia in the ring… But, well, at least there will be a dialogue happening?
Check out what Darren’s like in the ring below:
And the footage from this match isn’t erotic for me at all. Nope.
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