Out WWE star Sonya Deville says wrestling should introduce LGBT+ storylines ‘organically’

Sonya Deville performs during a WWE match against fellow wrestlers Naomi and “The Protector” Xia Li

Openly gay wrestling superstar Sonya Deville thinks the WWE should start incorporating LGBT+ characters “naturally” into its programmes.

Deville came out publicly in 2015 when she revealed that she is a lesbian during an appearance on the reality show Tough Enough. She quickly made headlines as the first-ever active, out female WWE star in the ring.

Since coming out, Deville has continuously spoken out in support of the LGBT+ community and advocated for bringing more queer representation into the WWE.

She even has an idea on how WWE could start incorporating LGBT+ characters and storylines into its TV programmes. Deville argued in an interview with talkSport that including the LGBT+ community in WWE TV should happen “organically” because “it’s just part of life”.

“It’s like every TV show usually has a gay character because, statistically, there would be a gay character,” Deville explained. “I think it’s a natural thing. I’d like it to be really organic.”

The former Total Divas star added she wanted any LGBT+ characters and storylines to “be done right” when they are being integrated into the WWE’s programmes.

Sonya Deville

Openly gay WWE superstar Sonya Deville says she wants to be an “voice” for the LGBT+ community in sports – specifically wrestling. (YouTube/WWE)

Deville described how LGBT+ inclusion should be “organic” so it can be “subtle and make sense”, adding the storyline should inform every “part of my character or a layer of me”.

“You don’t necessarily need a whole angle around it,” she said. “We’ve had ideas in the past and things like that, but it just needs to be organic.”

Sonya Deville shared that some people believed LGBT+ representation in the sport would mean the introduction of a “love angle” between two characters. But she thought it could just mean that fans one day find out “my character likes women and that would be cool”.

“If there’s a scene where one of the male superstars called his wife backstage and then one day, I could call my girlfriend backstage, you know what I mean?” Deville added. “Just organic things like that which are a part of life, I don’t think anything needs to be forced.”

In 2016, Stephanie McMahon, chief brand officer for the WWE, said the organisation was committed to inclusive storytelling and it would “integrate LGBT storylines into our programming” when “it makes sense”.

However, LGBT+ characters and storylines have not made their way onto screens despite several high-profile WWE stars coming out publicly in recent years.

Welsh wrestler Tegan Nox came out as bisexual in 2020 after she shared an adorable picture of her girlfriend alongside the caption “Life is good”.

Jake Atlas made headlines after he became the first-ever active, out man signed to the sport. The openly gay wrestler was signed to the WWE in 2019 as an NXT Superstar, making his debut in 2020.

However, Atlas announced in September that he would be retiring, citing ongoing struggles with mental health.

WWE SmackDown Superstar Toni Storm came out as bisexual earlier this year. Wrestling veterans Mercedes Martinez and Shayna Baszier have both come out as part of the LGBT+ community in recent years.

Former WWE superstar Gabbi Tuft announced in February that she is trans and has shared honest posts on Instagram about her journey.