Why WWE still has a long way to go in terms of true LGBTQ representation (Exclusive)
In this next SportsKeeda Wrestling article, I have to echo the sentiments of former WWE talent scout and coach, Dr. Tom Prichard from when I first started wrestling in 2002. He would always say in his wrestling camps - 'In this business, you’re going to have to learn how to eat sh** and like the taste of it!' In my head, I would always say to myself - 'that’ll never happen to me.' But boy, was I wrong!
I remember when I came out publicly to the world, one of the first people to reach out and call me was Vince McMahon to show his support. However, he did say he didn’t want it to become part of a storyline or anything. I was cool with it either way because I was just finally excited just to be myself and live my life on my own terms, something I struggled with for 30 years.
My own happiness was more important than anything else. There are so many reasons I came out to the world, sacrificing my WWE career, not only to inspire others to be and accept themselves but to also be able to bring my now ex-boyfriend, who I was in love with at the time, to red carpet events or just even backstage into the “masculine” world of professional wrestling to experience the "controlled chaos" of WWE.
My ex wasn’t a huge wrestling fan, but he respected the business. During the Attitude Era, he did, in fact, watch it, and he always said that if he ever got the chance to meet any wrestler, he’d love to meet Stone Cold Steve Austin (which he finally did).
But the bottom line is that during the final RAW of 2019, Liv Morgan interrupted Lana's wedding to Bobby Lashley to confess that she was in love with her and that angered many wrestling fans, including my girl Sonya Deville. I feel your pain, girl. I really do.
Liv Morgan had been teasing a major shift in her character upon her coming back to TV but instead she was inserted into the Lana love triangle, and she was now portraying a member of the LGBTQ community, even though Sonya Deville had already come out as a lesbian.
Immediately after being the first to come out publicly, WWE decided to partner up with GLAAD and become a corporate partner after I super-kicked my way out of the closet. My coming out story had a galvanic effect on the wrestling and entertainment world, but when I was with the company, we hadn’t really embraced the LGBTQ community on TV at all until shortly after my release (just a few days before my birthday).
A few months after my release from the company, WWE had finally embraced the LGBTQ community at WRESTLEMANIA 34 but with a straight ally who’s awesome.
The Irish WWE star himself Finn Balor delighted WWE fans with his inclusive entrance. Balor entered the Mercedes-Benz Superdome stadium with members of the New Orleans LGBTQ community, who all wore his new rainbow inspired t-shirt which was very similar to my Block The Hate equality symbol, which I had embraced personally through my social media channels even while I was still with the company.
It just hadn’t been represented on TV for me. But I guess that this is the price to pay for being a forerunner in championing LGBTQ rights in the arena of sports entertainment and while baby steps have been made in terms of progress, we are still far from making the leap towards true representation- a day I’m still hopeful for and I’m sure we will one day reach.