Saturday, July 1, 2023

An interview with AEW's openly gay, Black wrestler, and the warm reception he's getting from the audience

What was your understanding of how queer wrestlers, or people who played queer characters on TV, were portrayed coming up?

I really started to pay attention to all that once [former WWE wrestler] Darren Young came out in 2013, because around that time was when I really started to think about becoming a professional wrestler. That’s when I started to pay attention to how the representation was. And it didn’t look too good for me back then, which is why I stayed in the closet. 
You originally came out via a YouTube video where it’s said in passing. How did you decide this would be the moment that you come out publicly.

I met my boyfriend in May of 2016, and we dated secretly for six months or so. One of his dreams was to have a YouTube channel and make a video with me once we got together. And I was like, “I’m not entirely sure. I’m not out yet. I promise I’ll be out one day. I need to be ready for it.” He understood, but he was slightly hurt that he had to continue to be this secret. And then I was like, “You know what? You don’t really have that many subscribers, so I don’t think anybody’s going to see this. Let’s make this video.”

We made the video and a few months later, one of my buddies who’s a wrestler messaged me. He is like, “Hey, we saw the video. I wish you would have told us. Everybody saw it really. They love you. They respect you.” And once I saw that, I just knew that I had this opportunity to help other people who were in my shoes because I had the support of my best friends. I had the support of my family. Now I had the support of people in wrestling, which meant a lot to me. So I ended up coming out in January of 2017, and when that video took off, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since in a very, very positive way.