Celebrities and high-profile figures coming out has become a careful publicity game, stars wanting to disclose their sexualities themselves when they want, and tabloids wanting to be the first to dish the dirt. It seems like WWE wrestler Darren Young wanted to take his coming out into his own hands when he told a shocked TMZ reporter <http://www.tmz.com/2013/08/15/darren-young-wwe-superstar-gay/> that he was gay after getting off of a plane at in Los Angeles.
On the subject of gay wrestlers and whether or not they could be successful in the WWE, Young said, “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.” The reason for his coming out, TMZ later reported, came because of Young’s relationship with his boyfriend of two years. Maybe they’ll be tying the knot soon?
After coming out, Young got support from fellow wrestlers and his organization. Fellow WWE wrestler John Cena, congratulated Young for his coming out. He said he was proud of the wrestler for coming out and that it won’t—and shouldn’t—matter in or out of the ring, “as long as you’re entertaining.”
A representative at the WWE gave a statement <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/15/wwe-darren-young-gay_n_3761313.html>, saying that, “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.”
Young, 33 whose real name is Fredrick Douglas Rosser, is considered the first openly active gay WWE wrestler to come out while with the company. United States wrestling has had several gay figures, but none who came out while employed as prominent figures. Orlando Jordan performed as a bisexual man while wrestling, a character that was based on his actual life, but never came out to the press while working for the WWE. And Chris Kanyon created a character who was openly homosexual which segued into him admitting that he was actually gay and wanted to remain closeted while preforming.
The WWE and other wrestling shows have used queer characters in their shows, but usually in negative ways. Most male characters exhibiting feminine or homosexual traits are cast as heels, or the villains, in matches. Many cross-dress. The character Goldust would be sexually lewd, groping opponents and expressing affection toward them in order to make them uncomfortable and lose.
One of the more popular gay story arches revolved around the tag-team Billy and Chuck, who started showing affection toward each other on stage after pairing up in 2001. They won two World Tag Team Championships, and then were scheduled to get married on air, in partnership with GLAAD. During the commitment ceremony, the duo declared that they were strictly heterosexual and that the wedding and relationship had all been a publicity stunt, enraging GLADD who denounced the WWE for leading them on.
It seems like good news for wrestling in the United States, whose male sports figures have been regarded as being behind the times in terms of coming out and being open about their sexuality. Just after coming out, WWE added Young to their 2K14 roster, and it will be his debut in a WWE video game. Young has been shocked by how much positive press his decision has been making, and is glad that he can be seen as a positive role model.