Out WWE pro wrestler Sonya Deville has gone through somewhat of a reinvention in 2021, stepping into the role of on-screen authority figure in lieu of in-ring competition. But that break hasn’t seen her stop her push for the pro wrestling megacorp to include authentic LGBTQ representation on its programming.
In an interview with TalkSport, Deville reiterated her desire to see WWE present authentic LGBTQ characters and storylines on its television programs.
“LGBTQ inclusion is something I’ve talked about for years. To incorporate that into WWE TV organically should happen because it’s just part of life,” Deville said. “Every TV show usually has a gay character because statistically there would be a gay character.”
Deville has been a driving force in the minimal yet historic amount of attention WWE has placed on LGBTQ identities in recent years. She regularly represents WWE at GLAAD events, pushed the company to put together its first Pride month photo collection in 2019 and embedded LGBTQ Pride symbols in her ring gear on multiple occasions. Her appearances on WWE’s reality series “Total Divas” provided the most grounded and real presentation of an out LGBTQ person in the company’s history.
“I think it’s a natural thing,” Deville said. “I’d like it to be done right, of course, but I would like it to be organic so that it was every part of my character or layer of me. I would like it to be subtle and make sense. You don’t necessarily need a whole angle around it.”
Seeing Deville being open and joyful while celebrating her identity is much of the reason why she continues to advocate for “organic” LGBTQ on-screen representation even as WWE effectively halved the amount of out LGBTQ pro wrestlers on its roster over the last year.
But she also doesn’t want WWE’s first real foray into LGBTQ storytelling to pidgeonhole itself to simply love stories. LGBTQ people are so much more than just their romantic relationships, yet most discussions around introducing LGBTQ characters still center solely on that, including multiple tone-deaf examples from WWE’s past. Deville wants that larger truth reflected.
“If there’s a scene where one of the male superstars called his wife backstage and then one day, I could call my girlfriend backstage. Just organic things like that which are part of life,” Deville told TalkSport. “I don’t think anything needs to be forced. When some people think representation, they think, ‘oh, we’re going to do a love angle with Sonya and Mandy [Rose],’ and it’s like no, it doesn’t mean that. It means you could just find out one day that my character likes women and that would be cool.”