There are some subjects in wrestling that seem to be considered somewhat of a taboo to talk about. It isn't just wrestling where it seems to be a taboo as it seems to be in all forms of life, sports, and entertainment, but wrestling and sport doesn't appear to have caught up with the times as much as some other industries. It struck me this morning that while I was thinking of topics to write about today (I was thinking of a piece on stereotypes at the time and somehow got onto this in my mind) that there is a lack of openly homosexual wrestlers within the industry, let alone active ones that feel they can be open about it. Surely there must be a reason for this and I wonder why something that appears to be almost talked about around the world so openly on a daily basis still seems to be somewhat still ignored and not confronted in sport and wrestling.
When Darren Young came out as gay last year I must admit I was a little taken back and didn't see it coming. But at the same time I thought it took tremendous courage to do something so bold in an industry that has a history of not seeming to want to broach the subject. The number of openly homosexual wrestlers in the industry is minimal with only eleven in the industry, past or present, ever having openly declared their preference. The only active names are Darren Young, Rosa Mendes, and independent wrestler Cassandro. The other names including Pat Patterson, the Grand Wizard Ernie Roth, Chris Kanyon, Terry Garvin, Jim Barnett, and Orlando Jordan are all no longer active or have sadly passed away. When you put that number into perspective that is a very small portion of performers in the industry who are open to declare their sexuality for all to see. Wrestling isn't the only sport where homosexuality seems to be a taboo as how many sports stars can you name that are openly homosexual? It's a stigma that appears to have spread throughout sport and I believe wrestling should take a stand to buck the trend.
WWE have teased a homosexual edge in a character previously with the original Goldust, who pushed so many peoples' buttons when it came to his in ring actions against his opponents and was met with some serious resistance in the back and from fans. I've heard stories of some wrestlers getting hot at Goldust for some of the things he would do in the ring while Ahmed Johnson would go crazy on screen as part of a story when given mouth to mouth by Goldust. Maybe it's the reaction of the fans and boys in the back from an era when it wasn't so openly accepted that still makes some wrestlers hesitant to be so open about their sexuality because over time WWE would distance itself from the homosexuality of the character due to the controversy it bought them. The subject has always been a taboo for many within the industry as look how long it took for Pat Patterson to finally find the courage to confirm what we all knew anyway in Legends House in 2014, and during Patterson's era it would have been an even more delicate subject. Attitudes to homosexuality don't appear to have changed in the industry despite society being more acknowledging and accepting of it.
WWE doesn't seem to have managed to successfully create a character that appeals to this demographic of their audience and I'm struggling to see why in this modern world that this isn't something WWE has embraced. After all the company wants to promote and encourage anti-bullying through their Be A Star campaign, so why not use that as a stepping stone to create a homosexual, heck even bisexual character. I'm not saying they have to be in your face about it, parading around and being loud while flaunting it in the fans faces, but just acknowledge it in the very least in some way. It's almost like the industry is afraid to accept and embrace this change even though it would like to paint a picture that this isn't the case. Look at Darren Young as a prime example in the modern product. He came but openly as gay on Twitter, and WWE even acknowledged it but there has never once been a mention of Young's sexuality on television. The same can be said for Rosa Mendes, who openly outed herself as bisexual on Total Divas, but her sexuality again is never mentioned. I'm not saying they have to change the characters look or how they come across, but why not use that as part of the characters appeal? It's not going to hurt anyone or anything in the long run is it.
To the companies credit WWE has tried to integrate homosexuality into its characters and story lines in the past but they perhaps haven't gone about the subject in the right way. Billy and Chuck were the subject of one of WWE's most memorable story lines during 2002 that would see them paired with their new manager Rico, who would push the two men into almost committing themselves to one another during a "commitment ceremony". The story line received the backing of GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) at the time but the ceremony never quite ended with Billy and Chuck committing themselves to one another and announcing that they were not gay, before Eric Bischoff revealed himself as the priest in disguise and Three Minute Warning would make their debut, beating the pair and Rico down. While the story line infuriated many fans it is still one of the most memorable moments in Smackdown history. Trish Stratus and Mickie James also had lip locking moment under the Christmas mistletoe during 2002, while Mark Henry got more than he bargained for with a transsexual named Sammy during 1998. It's a subject WWE seems to have bought into story lines during it's history but nothing has ever been done in terms of the company creating a fully homosexual character.
So what does the future hold in terms of change in the industry and within WWE? I think the biggest thing right now is for those who have remained silent to hopefully find their voice and be more open about their sexuality. It should not make a difference to fans, to management, or to anyone what these men and women have a preference for outside of the squared circle. I think as the years go on we will see a shift across the industry and more openly homosexual characters will make their way onto our screens and toward the top of the company. While it seems there is still some way to go in terms of the industry breaking down a taboo barrier it seems that slowly but surely things are taking a step in the right direction.
If you have something to say on this subject then please leave your thoughts in the comments section below, or hit me up on Twitter, and give me a follow while your there on the username @jamie_welton. Or if that's not your scene why not stop by the WWENews.Net Facebook page and give us your thoughts and give us a like.