LGBT Wrestling in 2018 – A Glimpse into a Better Future

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LGBT people have been neglected in the wrestling world for a long-time, but since the Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) reunited in NJPW and Finn Balór made his Wrestlemania entrance with a “Bálor Club is for Everyone” theme, there is more space than ever to make “Wrestling is for Everybody” more than just a statement. This article will not be going into detail on the not so bright history of presenting LGBT in WWE (Mickie James/Trish Stratus, Goldust), but rather focus on the 21st-century approach by modern wrestlers like the Golden Lovers, Jack Sexsmith, Mike Parrow, Charlie Morgan etc.

Supporting the inclusiveness in the Indy-scene is “PROUD Apparel” by Jack Sexsmith, The Pansexual PROGRESS regular is campaigning for openness and inclusiveness. The UK promotion PROGRESS is very supportive of this project and therefore takes a leader role, which makes them a very open-minded comany. They are also invested in other LGBT talents, but we are getting to other talent later.

Photo: Stonewall

As a part of supporting with his PROUD company, a fixed percentage of his sales is going to Stonewall, you can easily research the numbers that show how necessary it still is to build inclusiveness. Stonewall runs the “Rainbow Laces campaign“ where you can lace your shoes with rainbow colored shoestrings to show your support and to show that sport is for everyone and no one should fear discrimination or be anxious about themselves. Sport and Wrestling bring people together. No matter which gender or romantic orientation you have you are a fan, performer, player, competitor and that is the important part of you.

Photo: NJPW

Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi of NJPW as the Golden Lovers are a prime example of displaying a wonderful storyline of friendship and love between two outstanding wrestlers. They reunited as a team at the beginning of 2018 after nearly three and a half years and immediately became favorites of the LGBT Community. “Let people think what they want to think,” Omega told Yahoo Sports back in March. “If LGBT people can identify with our story, if they think ‘the Golden Lovers are my team,’ I’m good with that. It’s the story of two wrestlers who shared dreams on their way up, who became fast friends, who are now reuniting at the top of their game.”

Gay and Bi men are 4-times less likely to take part in team sports. If you think about that, nobody should be scared to take part in something that is made to socialize. Especially wrestling, a sport designed to entertain everybody, without building storylines on the back of minorities, like WWE did in the past and still does for the sake of money.

Photo: WWE

WWE recently held a big event in Saudi Arabia The Greatest Royal Rumble. An event, where Women were not allowed to wrestle and only allowed in the crowd with a male escort, Finn Bálor did not come out in his LGBT supportive gear and Sami Zayn could not perform because he is of Syrian descent. After WWE aired a promo package with female wrestlers the Saudi General Sports Commission issued an apology for “indecent material” because it contained Women. Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and can be punished by death.

Authors opinion: For me, WWE is putting money over equality. By doing that event they supported a regime that oppresses human rights and is stuck in the Middle Ages. If you are a government in 2018 and you threaten people with the death penalty because of who they are, you have not arrived in the 21st century in any way. It is simply unimaginable and outright brainless to persecute people that haven’t done anything to hurt anyone, robbed anyone or done anything negative. People that are brave enough to recognize themselves and be the way that they are born should be protected from countries like Saudi Arabia. WWE signed a deal over multiple years.

To end this text on a positive note, it is necessary to make clear how much already happened as a step in the right direction. Golden Lovers, Jack Sexsmith, NYWC wrestling who are doing all-LGBT events called “A Matter of Pride“ and two other people that should be focused on in the following paragraphs. A man and a woman who both struggled but ultimately embraced themselves and are more accomplished than ever.

Mike Parrow, who came out after he tried conversion therapy, only to find out who he really is. He grew up with a Catholic background while always knowing about his sexuality. His first steps in the Gay community weren’t successful either, due to him experiencing masculine shaming that put his confidence level down further.  Parrow has been trained in the 3D Academy in Florida and now works mainly with WWN (EVOLVE) and MLW, where he get´s constant support since his coming out. He is engaged and can perform at a higher level now because he is embracing his personality. Mike Parrow now encourages young people to be who they are, do the sport they love and all of that without hate for themselves. The man from New York had to be at the lowest point in his life to make peace with himself, meeting his fiance was the sign he had been waiting for.

Photo: James Musselwhite / Portrait of a Wrestler

And finally, everyone should be aware of Charlie Morgan, the current Pro Wrestling: EVE champion. Charlie Morgan defeated Sammii Jayne in a 20-minute battle in York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, during the match she climbed the balcony and did a somersault, but see for yourself. She has competed against Toni Storm for the PROGRESS Women’s title at SSS16. She also stepped into the ring for OTT and RIPTIDE just to name a few. She also came out as openly Gay during a very emotional promo at EVE.

“It shouldn’t just be that you’re white and you’re straight and that’s cool – it shouldn’t matter what race you are, what your sexual orientation is, it doesn’t change you as a person, just be yourself,” Morgan told Pink News last August. “I’m just a good a worker as somebody who is straight, it shouldn’t matter what race you are, what sexuality you’re interested in. I still don’t understand in this day and age why people have an issue with it.”

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