“This is what it’s all about; seeing the evolution of this business. From us being secrets, from us being told we can’t be honest and open, from us being confused and tortured in this business to living out, proud and loud … what a beautiful sight.”

Those words from wrestler Billy Dixon as fellow wrestlers Cassandro and Sonny Kiss embraced after a hard fought main event at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch Saturday encapsulated all the event’s accomplishments.

Saturday’s spectacle wasn’t the first LGBTQ Pride pro wrestling event, but it was one of the most important. Wrestler and producer EFFY brought together a large swathe of the biggest names in LGBTQ wrestling and showcased them on independent pro wrestling’s largest stage, Game Changer Wrestling’s annual pro wrestling festival, The Collective.

But it did so much more than just provide a stage to a number of grapplers that fly under the radar of traditional wrestling audiences. Every match and moment on the card proved what subscribers to the LGBTQ pro wrestling movement have known all along: queer pro wrestlers can succeed in any and all facets of the industry.

LGBTQ wrestlers are endearing figures, like the reborn Joshua Wavra, the “Reel Catch” Ashley Vox and the simping Allie Kat. They are hard-hitting kings and queens, like the Polyam King MV Young, the aforementioned Sonny Kiss and the ultimate bear Parrow. They defy common societal definitions to create something wholly new like the living work of art Still Life with Apricots and Pears and the biggest stick in the business Molly McCoy.

LGBTQ wrestlers are capable of being bad in the pro wrestling sense, like the brash team of AC Mack and Ashton Starr, the singular-minded Kaiju O’Shay Edwards and the delightfully heelish Jamie Senegal, Saint Synclair and Jared Evans. They are capable in-ring storytellers, from Tyler Kelin and Calvin Couture’s successful quest to get choked by Parrow to Tony Deppen’s in-character journey to allyship, proclaiming “I love the twinks!” before aiding Devon Monroe’s Twink Gauntlet victory.

And yes, LGBTQ wrestlers are able to enthrall all audiences with images and stories steeped in the tea leaves of queerness. It’s why you have a match called the Twink Gauntlet in the first place and cheer as Marko Stunt blinds EFFY with Boy Butter shot from a weaponized dildo.

LGBTQ people belong in all roles on a wrestling show, evidenced by EFFY’s production, J-Rose and Val Capone’s ring announcing and Young and Dixon’s turns on commentary.

Most importantly though, LGBTQ wrestlers have been here for longer than you know and have been carving out legacies that made events like the Big Gay Brunch possible. Trailblazers like Dark Sheik, Juicy Jimmy and the lucha libre leyenda Cassandro are living proof of that.

No one can deny these facts after Saturday. LGBTQ pro wrestling is pro wrestling, and as EFFY so eloquently put it to close the show, “No matter what that wrestling is, if it’s good wrestling, we’re here for that shit!”

Listen to a full recap of EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch with Brian Bell and special guest Elm Hill (Wrestling with Gender) on Outsports’ LGBT In The Ring podcast. Download and listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other podcast services. Or listen here!