Professional wrestler Darren Young has come out, instead of a carefully worded and sensitive confessional style interview, he did this during an on the spot chat with TMZ while collecting his luggage.
When asked if an openly gay wrestler could be successful in the WWE, he replied: “Absolutely, absolutely! Look at me. I’m a WWE Superstar, and to be honest with you I’m gay. And I’m happy, very happy.”
He remarked that he was unconcerned with how it would be perceived and it shouldn’t change a thing.
By choosing to come out he has become the first openly gay wrestler in the WWE.
Darren Young is currently one half of the tag team, the Prime Time Players with Titus O’Neil. The team’s intro track and music refers them as committed and serious athletes in pursuit of wealth and status. On Young’s Twitter account it states his life “revolves around three things — Money, Women and Wrestling.”
It’s not unusual for a gay man to portray an overtly heterosexual man, look at Neil Patrick Harris in “How I Met Your Mother” or Jeremy Sheffield in “Hollyoaks”.
How this will play into the WWE storylines remains to be seen.
The WWE has issued an official statement saying that they are proud of Darren Young for being so open about his sexuality and pledged to support him as a WWE superstar. Fellow wrestler John Cena has also publically backed him. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have also tweeted messages of support.
It would not be the first time a wrestler has come out, Chris Kanyon had previously been active within the WWE but was released from his contract due to a string of injuries and relapses. During a promotional activity, he began telling people that he was fired from the WWE for being gay. He later admitted he had only completed the interviews as a publicity stunt. In his autobiography, he later admitted that he was gay. Sadly Kanyon also suffered from bi-polar disorder and later committed suicide, using anti-depressants in 2010.
Looking over the entire industry and WWE’s brand of sport entertainment, it feels like a bold move. The focus of wrestling is combat based testosterone feuds. How a gay man plays into this as an equal remains to be seen. However with an increasingly viable presence of LGBT characters in films, television and comic books it feels important.
Looking at it from a professional athletics perspective, role models are necessary to make the move towards equality. Gareth Thomas, Robbie Rogers and John Amaechi all came out after they had retired.
Darren Young is a true inspiration; he is involved with anti-bullying initiatives and promoting diversity. He is a man at the prime of his career refusing to hide who he is and carrying on doing what he loves in life.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.