Gay WWE Star Discusses Impromptu Coming Out
The WWE’s Darren Young made international headlines on Thursday after he shocked a TMZ reporter and told him that he’s gay. On Friday, after receiving support from fellow wrestlers via social media, Young discussed his impromptu coming out on the "Today" show.
"Why not? I felt like it was the right place and the right time,’’ Young, 29, told Matt Lauer. "I feel by coming out I’m going to make a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. I’ve been suppressing these feelings for so long in my life - I’m going to be 30 on Nov. 2 - and I just need to be happy. Until the day I’m six feet under I will always say I want to be happy, and I’m happy now.’’
Young, born Fred Rosser, told Lauer that he was worried that someone else may have outted him if he didn’t make the announcement himself.
"I’ll be honest with you, I was terrified, and I think anybody in my shoes would feel the same way,’’ the athlete said. "It took some guts."
On Thursday, Young was thrown into the media spotlight when he told TMZ that he is gay and "very happy."
"I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy," the wrestler said.
Young also told Lauer that NBA’s Jason Collins, who became the first active male professional athlete in a major American sport team to publicly come out, inspired him to come. He added that Collins talked with him on Thursday night about coming out.
"He actually gave me some advice on how to handle this whole situation and how to cope with it and how to be positive and be a strong individual,’’ Young said.
Young has not been in the ring since coming out but is hoping his announcement will inspire others.
"I will probably get a mixed reaction, maybe some good, some bad, but at the end of the day I want to be able to be a role model,’’ he said. "I want to be a role model to people that are afraid to come out. I want to be able to speak at different functions and educate and tell my story because my story goes further than being gay.
"As a young child, I had a speech impediment, a stuttering problem, I got bullied, I got picked on, but that didn’t stop me from becoming a WWE superstar," he added. "I got the help I needed. I had a speech pathologist help me out, and I’m living the dream now."
Young also mentioned his personal life saying, "I have the best of both worlds. I’m in love, and I wrestle for one of the greatest organizations in the world, the WWE, and I’m a lucky man."
Soon after his announcement, LGBT rights groups and a number of WWE stars took to Twitter and lauded Young for his announcement.
"Congratulations, @DarrenYoungWWE for living YOUR life, YOUR way. #proud," Triple H, tweeted.
"Good for him. That’s fantastic. I know Darren personally. Darren’s a great guy. That’s a very bold move for him," John Cena, actor and WWE superstar, said. "And congratulations for him for actually finally doing it. It’s all about being professional, and Darren Young is a consummate professional. For us, it’s entertainment, and if you’re entertaining you shouldn’t be judged by race, creed, color or sexuality ... as long as you’re entertaining."
In related news, Stone Cold Steve Austin, a WWE icon, recently voiced his support for marriage equality in a hilarious interview for an Internet radio show, reports Good As You.
Check out the clip below (Warning: Don’t listen if you’re sensitive to profanities):