The ranks of out LGBTQ figures in pro wrestling grew once again this week as several stars from across the pro wrestling landscape stepped up and shared their truth through publicly coming out.
WWE backstage announcer and Talking Smack co-host Kayla Braxton came out as bisexual in a heartfelt post addressing her own struggles with societal structures that box in her racial identity and sexual orientation.
“My whole life, I’ve had to choose. Are you Black? Are you white? Which bubble do you fill in on the SATs? I always filled in ‘other’ because nothing applied to me,” Braxton said via Twitter. “Tonight, I choose to be over having to choose. Hello world. I’m Kayla. Oh. And yeah - I’m Bi.”
Braxton also tweeted an image of the bisexual Pride flag as well. Braxton’s announcement drew praise from many within WWE and the wider pro wrestling world, but she deactivated her Twitter account hours after sharing her truth possibly due to harassing comments.
The independent pro wrestling scene also delivered a series of coming out announcements as well after wrestling merchandise designer Ash Dabbath asked “Who all is (openly) queer in wrestling” on Twitter. Among the many responses were Brooklyn-based wrestler, trainer and Year One Wrestling podcast host Logan Black.
“Those close to me already know. And (at least recently) I’ve been really truthful about it when asked. So, yeah. Hi,” Black tweeted. Black told Outsports that he felt “reluctant” to speak about his LGBTQ identity on social media but credits Ash’s tweet for giving him “an open door to say it.”
“I was always weird about saying something on social media. Not that I don’t 100% support others that went public in that way, but personally, I’m a bit more shy about myself than my in-ring persona would give off,” Black told Outsports. “The response I got was a bit overwhelming but all positive. Lots of love. Seeing queer talent like the tweet that I’d never met, like Parrow and Dark Sheik, both whom I have insane respect for, made me realize that it was the right choice to make.”
A major part of Black’s hesitance to come out publicly centered on an internalized fear of not being “queer enough,” but the response from the LGBTQ wrestling community’s positive response spoke a language of acceptance to Black.
“I spent a large part of the adult life always feeling like I wasn’t queer enough for the community. I was too masc, too straight passing, too secretive about who I was. But the queer wrestling community is seriously the best,” Black said. “Once I got over the fact that all of those feelings were just in my head, it was a lot easier to be open and honest with myself.”
“The King of Chaos” also thanked former Uncanny Attractions producer and Pro Wrestling Mothership host Darnell Mitchell for helping him find comfort in his identity. “Darnell was one of the first people I came out to … He was always so supportive of everything I did,” Black said. “Last year he texted me on the first of June just saying “Happy Pride” and I don’t think I’ve gotten texts that had more meaning to it in so few words. [I] can’t put into words how a gesture like that, while so small, mattered so much to me.”
Recent Paradigm Pro Wrestling standout Connelly came out publicly as pansexual as well. Connelly told Outsports that he had already been out to his mother and friends but felt it was “a good opportunity to just say it out loud.”
“I just felt like it … I think I’ve been starting to feel more comfortable with myself very recently,” Connolly told Outsports. “It was nice to say it and get it off my chest. It doesn’t change my day-to-day at all though. I still am who I am.”
Satu Jinn, Zeke Mercer, Jetstream Jack, Joe Barton and a number of other out pro wrestlers also took the chance to pop in and say hello during the online LGBTQ pro wrestling celebration.
Outsports congratulates Braxton, Black and Connelly for showing courage in living their truth.