Although pro-wrestling has a reputation for being a particularly hyper-masculine form of entertainment, the industry has more recently been embracing the LGBTQ+ community. Shows featuring openly gay and trans athletes have begun garnering excitement all around the world and have started attracting fans who otherwise would have never given the sport much thought.
But it wasn’t always this welcoming; wrestlers from previous generations have told harrowing stories about the violence and discrimination they faced. We may never know the real history of LGBTQ+ people in pro-wrestling, considering how many queer people were forced to stay in the closet to survive.
Casual fans might be familiar with out wrestlers like Jake Atlas, Nyla Rose, Anthony Bowens, Sonny Kiss, Darren Young, and Pat Patterson. But in celebration of Pride month, we’re counting down 6 under-celebrated LGBTQ+ athletes who deserve credit for being out and proud long before queerness was celebrated.