Logan Black has always seen himself as unique. Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Black immersed himself in both the punk and pro wrestling subcultures with furious passion. Taking in the chaotic atmosphere at Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) shows at an early age provided an example for how the two could blend and set Black down a path that now finds him with nearly 15 years of in-ring experience.

During that time, Black maintained a goal to leave the culture of pro wrestling better than he found it when he began training in the mid-2000s. His presence within wrestling provided him a platform to promote inclusivity and mental health awareness while being seen as a committed, vocal ally for the LGBTQ community looking for a place within pro wrestling.

But Black wasn’t an ally. He was part of the community. Black came out publicly in March 2021, spurred by a tweet asking who in pro wrestling was out LGBTQ. The moment proved cathartic for Black, producing a positive response from the wrestling community that he described as “overwhelming in the best way.”

Finding the strength to speak about his identity put extra power behind his aggressive message of LGBTQ acceptance within pro wrestling, but it also allowed him an avenue to speak about the issues that made him believe he needed to remain closeted for so long.

“If we want to do the Logan Black story, it would be Logan Black: not queer enough,” Black said on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring. “My closest friends, my tag team partner [Chris Benne] knew ages ago, but I didn’t think I was queer enough and didn’t feel like I fit there.”

Part of what fueled that sentiment for Black was tied to that uber-aggressive approach in how he confronts hate. Cementing himself as a strong LGBTQ ally while keeping his own LGBTQ identity close to the vest ending up creating interactions that fed into Black’s sense that he didn’t belong among those he supported.

“Ariela Nyx, after we tagged at Butch vs. Gore, we chatted about stuff and she mentioned me being this ultra-aggressive ally,” Black said. “I love Ariela to death. Her heart was in the right place, but, again, you want to talk about not feeling like you fit somewhere. Do I say something or do I just take the compliment and smile? Am I smiling through tears?”

Logan Black

Those questions and feelings of exclusion that plagued Black for years kept him from coming out publicly for another year following Butch vs. Gore. But once he made the decision to tell the world, he found that he wasn’t alone in feeling othered by the internalized pressure to live up to some mythological ideal of queerness.

There were so many others among the people that reached out to him in the days following his coming out post (myself included) that shared their own struggles with the idea that they didn’t meet the LGBTQ expression checklist.

“The amount of people that reached out to me after I came out to say, ‘This is how I felt. I didn’t know how to express it. You put the right words together. Thank you, now let me process this,’ and then some of those people actually coming out … it felt really great to help others in that regard,” Black said. ”But I was also able to finally accept myself outwardly and inwardly.”

Check out the full interview with Logan Black on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring. Download and listen to new episodes every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and anywhere else podcasts are podded.