The changing landscape of inclusivity in wrestling

Over the past few years, the world of wrestling has started to see some exciting changes in and around inclusitivity. Whilst it may be a gradual change, it is starting to happen.

The question is does someone’s sexual orientation impact anyone in the wrestling scene. The simple answer is no! At the end of the day wrestling is skill, its performance and its about what you can do in the ring and not what goes on behind closed doors. It makes no difference!

There are some fantastic wrestlers out there. Those of you who watched NXT this week would have seen the debut of Jake Atlas. He has been gaining a huge following for his in ring ability. He is also openly gay.

He dreams of becoming the first openly gay WWE champion and why not? He has the ability, he has the skills and experience.

Former WWE superstar Darren Young came out as gay several years ago after much fear about the reaction. The WWE supported this publicly whilst Vince and Stephanie McMahon both tweeted in support. Various big name wrestlers also tweeted in support.

He is no longer with the company but continues to forge an excellent career in the indie circuit.

Historically, these wrestlers arent alone, first WWE intercontinental champion Pat Patterson, Orlando Jordan, Cassandro, Rosa Mendes and former British wrestler Terry Garvin are all gay.

Brad Slayer from Britain was the first openly gay wrestler to challenge for the NWA championship and wrestles in a tag team with Kip Sabian.

Here in the UK its also represented well with wrestlers including Oscar Lee, Christopher Saynt and many more. Saynt revealed that he received abuse from fans but support from wrestlers.

So what’s the message I am trying to get across? Simple, sexual orientation has no impact on a personal wrestling ability. Just minutes after launching my like page on Facebook I received homophobic abuse.

Whilst I quickly deleted, and yes felt a little upset I realised that this is about a sport I enjoy, performing to wrestling fans. Yes, wrestling relies on a lot of contact but its wrestling and to me thats all it will ever be!

Now I admit that the one thing that prevented me from getting into wrestling originally was the fact that Im gay. Like many others, I wanted to get involved but worried that other wrestlers wouldnt want to go up against me and even as I began to train, I still wanted to hide it.

As a life long wrestling fan, I too have always been worried about admitting I watch wrestling, MMA, UFC and all of that kind of thing but that’s because I worried people may think the worst.

That’s where people are wrong! My interest in this sport is no different to any straight persons. I have never been one to adhere to ‘stereotypes’ and I dont want sexuality to define me! I think the important message is to not judge, not stereotype based on peoples sexual orientation, religion, nationality or any other factor and judge them on their wrestling ability.

There’s room for everyone and we can break stereotypes together!

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