SmackDown Live superstar Sonya Deville recently sat down with Parade.com to discuss being an openly gay performer in WWE, and expressed how the company has given her a platform to spread a positive message and boost her confidence.
In the interview, she revealed that her decision to come out for the first time on WWE programming initially caught her off-guard, but the moment has since enabled her to live her life the way she wants to and promote her message as a result.
“Four years ago, I wasn’t even openly gay, then I came out on national TV on WWE’s Tough Enough. Although it caught me off guard and I wasn’t by any means prepared to tell the world my truth, the fact that it was public made me almost have to face my truth. The last four years since then has been a forever evolving journey of self-acceptance and now also helping others realize it’s okay to be whoever you are, and to love whomever you love.”
As noted by The Sun, the former MMA fighter came out as gay for the first time during an episode of Tough Enough — a show dedicated to finding future WWE talents. During the segment, Triple H asked her if she was in a relationship, and she revealed that she had a girlfriend, before confessing that she’d just come out on national television.
At the time, it felt like a breakthrough moment for WWE. In the past, the company’s depiction of LGBTQ representation hasn’t always been enlightened. For example, in the early 2000s, the Billy and Chuck tag team were portrayed as opportunists who only pretended to be in a relationship to generate publicity.
Throughout the storyline, WWE consulted with Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), only to be denounced by the organization later on after the truth about Billy and Chuck’s relationship had been revealed.
Sports entertainment isn’t known for its gay wrestlers for the most part, but the good news is that’s all starting to change. Prior to Deville joining WWE, Darren Young also came out about his sexuality, which still felt like a rare occurrence in 2015 and represented a huge step forward for the sport.
Across the board, pro wrestling is becoming a much more diverse and inclusive world than it used to be. At the end of the day, sports and entertainment should be for everyone. By having superstars like Deville spread her message, it will hopefully inspire others to do the same.