Gay wrestler Anthony Bowens lays the smackdown on Christian homophobes with defiant kiss

Anthony Bowens kisses boyfriend in front of crowd of homophobic protesters

Pro-wrestler Anthony Bowens has received a flood of love and support after kissing his boyfriend in front of a crowd of homophobic protesters.

The All Elite Wrestling star posted a photo where he can be seen kissing his boyfriend, YouTube star Michael Pavano, in front of people holding signs bearing pro-Trump messages and anti-gay slurs.

Posting the photo to Instagram, Bowens said: “Stand up against hate” with the rainbow emoji. 

Bowens, who came out as gay in 2019 after previously identifying as bisexual, shared the photo on Monday (6 December) and quickly received several supportive messages.

Fellow wrestling star and Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo sent several emojis, including the rainbow flag, while producer Anthony Ramos wrote, “That’s right!!!”

Since coming out in 2017, Bowens has campaigned for LGBT+ visibility in sports.

He told Sports Illustrated in 2019: “I’m representing the LGBT+ community and athletes that are LGBT+, but even more than that, too. I’m representing the small-town kid who was told he’d never make it, and I’m here for the shy kid that is ready to burst out of his shell and be that social butterfly.

“To know that I’m having a positive impact on people is a blessing, and makes me feel that I made the right decision to come out.”

Anthony Bowens and Michael Pavano attend the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards (Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

The 30-year-old wrestler opened up about how he met his YouTuber boyfriend in a video in 2017, with Bowens admitting it was “far from a fairytale”. 

The pair met via Instagram, however Pavano actually had a boyfriend at the time.

Pavano said: “It was the last break that we took before we made it official that it was over.

“And that’s when I met [Bowens] and was instantly attracted to him. I was just like ‘wow’.

“I even told my ex at the time that I was so attracted to him as soon as we got back together after that break.”

Pavano did eventually break up with his ex-boyfriend, sent Bowens a friend request, and the two have been an item ever since.