Making headlines this week is WWE star Darren Young admitting to TMZ that he is gay. First, I want to applaud Young for coming out. Unfortunately, we still live in a world of intolerance which takes the form of bigotry and hatred. Although our society has come a long way, there is certainly room for improvement. It takes courage to be true to one's self. That's one in the win column for you, Mr. Young.
Secondly, I want to applaud the WWE stars who have been supportive since the news broke. When you spend as much time together on the road as wrestlers do, you can't help but bond with each other. I'm sure among the locker room this wasn't a secret, although I can't help but wonder what the overall feeling has been toward Young before and after his coming out behind the scenes.
While I applaud his decision to come out, I have a few concerns about how this, if at all, will play out in the future. Let's not forget that Young is a professional wrestler currently working for World Wrestling Entertainment (emphasis on entertainment). The company is known for tackling sensitive issues with little to no tact for the sake of entertaining fans. Young's decision to be openly gay outside of the business is, well, his business and shouldn't be a way for WWE to make headlines.
I have no desire to see his sexual preference exploited in order to gain publicity. Young is a performer with potential to one day be a huge star just like anyone else. Whether or not that happens is debatable. However, that's where the focus should remain, on his ability to entertain the fans. As a wrestling fan, I respect Darren Young because he is talented. I couldn't care less about his sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of other WWE stars.
WWE should be supportive of Young's decision and leave it at that. If Young wants to use his coming out as a way to inspire others to be themselves, then more power to him. There are ways to do so. The next time I see him on television, I want to sit back and continue to be entertained, period. I don't want to see a storyline revolve around this. It isn't necessary. Or is it?
Can an openly gay wrestler be successful in professional wrestling without allowing himself (or herself) to be subjected to exploitation? Will the fans be supportive of Young's decision? That's another article for another time. What do you think?