Darren Young came out on Wednesday, saying he is proof that a gay wrestler can be successful in the WWE.
The announcement makes Young the first openly gay male professional wrestler in the current arena.
Young was collecting his bags at Los Angeles International Airport when he was approached by a reporter from TMZ who asked if he thought a gay wrestler could be successful.
“Absolutely,” the 33-year-old Young responded. “Look at me. I’m a WWE Superstar and, to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay, and I’m happy. Very happy.”
For Darren Young, the announcement did not seem too big a deal. He said he doesn’t consider it a “coming out,” and said he is happy with who he is.
“I’m comfortable with myself, and I’m happy to be living the dream… Some people might not like it. Some people will like it. I’m here to please myself. I’m here to be happy… I’m hoping to make a difference. It’s very important to me to make people understand that someone’s sexual preference shouldn’t really matter. It should be about the person.”
The news that Darren Young is gay was a hot topic on wrestling blogs and message boards on Wednesday, and stories drew comparisons to other recent athletes who have come out. Earlier this year NBA player Jason Collins became the first male athlete in a major American sport to come out during his playing career.
At the same time, a group of several gay NFL players have reportedly considered coming out, as the sport moves more toward greater acceptance. Both the NFL and NHL have worked with gay advocacy groups to formulate policies toward acceptance and to support gay athletes once they come out.
Darren Young started wrestling in 2002 and joined the WWE in 2005. He and tag team partner Titus O’Neill are currently in Los Angeles for the SummerSlam event.