Darren Young, an active WWE superstar, has just come out as gay.
In the past, this would’ve been wholly unthinkable. But now it’s absolutely wonderful to witness a shifting cultural paradigm, to be part of a world where experiences other than your own are met with esteem where they were once regarded with fear.
When I was growing up, the WWE used gay panic as a way to promote wrestlers as villains. We were supposed to be worried for wrestlers facing off against the likes of Golddust or Gorgeous George because, God forbid, those dudes might kiss their opponents before they DDT’d them. Sensitivity wasn’t a big priority.
TMZ recently had one of their photographers at the Los Angeles Airport where Young was waiting for his bags. He asked Young if he thought that a gay wrestler could be successful in the WWE. This was Young’s response:
“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. Very happy.”
You can’t get more beautifully concise. No media announcements, no book deals, just an honest off-the-cuff statement highlighting the fact that, really, being gay is no biggie. Fresh off Young’s announcement, the WWE released a statement of its support.
“On TMZ this morning, WWE Superstar Darren Young revealed to the WWE Universe that he is gay. WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar. Today, in fact, Darren will be participating in one of our Be A STAR anti-bullying rallies in Los Angeles to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Darren Young isn’t the first wrestler to come out, but he is the first active wrestler signed to a large promotion to do so. Who would’ve thought that wrestling would be one of the more progressive sports environments around?