Fact: it matters that Darren Young has said he is gay

If you’ve not seen it already – and don’t have a moral objection to clicking through to TMZ – Darren Young gave an interview at LAX saying that he is gay.

It’s an interesting short chat – Young doesn’t seem to want to have an extensive discussion about it, after his initial statement, and why should he? – and it’s important.

Already the comments are coming in, and amidst the ones that are happy and supportive, there are the usual whiners, who say something like this: “Why does it matter that he’s gay? I don’t go around telling everyone that I’m straight.”

Well, it does matter. The interview touched on one of the reasons why – it shows that gay men can make it to WWE and, as Young says, be happy and live their dream.

But it also matters because at shows in 2013, wrestlers still do the spot where one’s on all fours and one’s kneeling behind him, and they encourage people to laugh at the very concept that such very manly men could ever be gay.

It matters because crowds still chant “Gay boy!” at heels.

It matters because WWE had the chance ten years ago to promote gay characters in wrestling, and instead they put the cause back by another ten years.

It matters because Bruce Hart’s book dismisses Adrian Street as having a “fag gimmick”.

It matters because there have been gay and bisexual male wrestlers before who have never publicly said that they are gay.

It matters because not so long ago people lost their jobs – in wrestling and in other industries – for being gay.

So it might seem odd for congratulating someone for talking about their sexuality – but this is big news. And it matters.

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8 Responses to Fact: it matters that Darren Young has said he is gay

  1. […] in wigs etc. Who knows, maybe that was his idea, but it still isn’t great. Indeed as “The Only Way Is Supplex” points out, “gay boy!” is still used by hordes of WWE’s kid fans as an […]

  2. Rohan says:

    I’ve just discovered your website through a review of your book – a really refreshing and unique thing! Congratulations on the book as well – I enjoyed the “faking it” bit whilst on route home from lunch today.

    I feel a little bit uncomfortable that the Darren Young TMZ thing was clearly a set up interview to announce the news. I’m cynical enough to believe this was a carefully planned media event on the WWE “grid” (should they have such a thing!) timed for when they’re in LA glad handing the industry. I therefore wonder Young was entirely in charge of the arrangements for his coming out.I hope he was and the WWE press office just helped him find a way to do it.

    I agree a positive gay role model is a fantastic thing in wrestling – the homophobia of crowds is one of the things I feel most uncomfortable about in wrestling. The cases of Orlando Jordan and Kanyon shouldn’t be forgotten though.

    P.S. I don’t suppose you ever saw Dumb Show at the Royal Court? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumb_Show ) I always think of that when I see people coming out post Steven Gately.

    • Carrie says:

      Hello! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. Glad you’re enjoying the book!

      Obviously it was a planted interview and question – it’s obvious that Young just wants to get his line out there and leave it at that. That being the case, I do think he had some input – he’s clearly been out to his friends for a while so presumably this could have been done at any point. This way, WWE media office are there on hand to help him deal with the fall-out, so I think that’s good.

      I’ve been reading Kanyon’s book as a cautionary tale this weekend – I cried three times in the first three pages. I’m thinking of doing another blog post about how/why things could be different now.

      I never saw it but will have to read about it!

      • Rohan says:

        I think I’ll choose to be less cynical and take your interpretation!

        Entertainment and sport can be a brutal place I guess for gay people – perhaps wrestling has in the past combined the worst of those. The whole heel/face thing makes things rather complicated when other characteristics such as sexuality might otherwise be an incidental to the situation. Wrestling is perhaps the weirdest art form because it has had near showbiz levels of ‘out’ people within the industry in the highest level positions such as Pat Patterson and others (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Barnett_(wrestling) ) whilst actively using race and sexuality baiting to get heat and draw money.

        Your post, sitting here watching the cricket and thinking back to Kanyon made me think of the depression and interrelated aspects of sexuality of Peter Roebuck’s life from the “real” sports world.

        Dumb Show was a play before its time in 2004 for what it revealed and foresaw. I was already aware of how to phone hack (from popbitch of all places), the tricks of PR and the practice of blackmailing people for coming out stories but in 90mins it distilled most of the News of the World/tabloid practice ‘scandal’ that came out years later. It helped make me feel worldly wise the next year when I became close to a girl from Prince Charles’ press office – they were already at the focus of the phone hacking that eventually led to Leveeson et al. Oh and more importantly it was a funny, profound and not at all pretentious bit of theatre!

      • Carrie says:

        Roebuck’s story is a very strange one altogether. I think cricket’s made great attempts to deal with their issues around homophobia in a way that, say, football hasn’t as yet.

        I think the important thing about the gay men involved in wrestling is that they might have been “out” to friends/colleagues, but it’s never been said publicly – it’s always been a nudge-nudge wink-wink thing. That’s not just something that happens in wrestling – think about the other men who’ve come out after they’ve retired from active sports competition. Kanyon wanted to be an out gay man who was a successful professional wrestler, but he didn’t feel like he had the support network to do that. I really hope that Darren Young does.

  3. […] as I said on Thursday, there’s still a lot of covert, unacknowledged fear of homosexuality – not just in […]

  4. […] the place in wigs etc. Who knows, maybe that was his idea, but it still isn’t great. Indeed as “The Only Way Is Supplex” points out, “gay boy!” is still used by hordes of WWE’s kid fans as an insult to the […]

  5. […] the place in wigs etc. Who knows, maybe that was his idea, but it still isn’t great. Indeed as “The Only Way Is Supplex” points out, “gay boy!” is still used by hordes of WWE’s kid fans as an insult to the […]

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