Gay pro-wrestler Anthony Bowens shares emotional message after historic AEW title win
Gay pro-wrestler Anthony Bowens has shared a heartfelt message following his first major All-Elite Wrestling (AEW) championship win.
Bowens and Max Caster – known together as The Acclaimed – nabbed the AEW tag team championship title earlier this month in a whirlwind match against duo Swerve in Our Glory – Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland – at AEW Grand Slam.
On Wednesday (28 September), he spoke about the significance of the win, and becoming the first openly gay male professional wrestler to win gold in AEW.
“I want to take a second to speak on something that I don’t really talk about much on camera,” he said in a video, coming close to tears. “Some of you know, some of you may not know, but I never thought I’d be able to have a moment like this.
“I never thought I would be able to live my dreams, because there was a time where I was very confused, and I didn’t know how to accept myself, but I fought through that bulls**t. I fought through all that bulls**t and now I cry, because I’m a champion.”
He finished by sending a message of solidarity to anyone struggling, saying: “It doesn’t have to be about your sexuality, it can be if you’re depressed, if you’re bullied, if life just sucks.
“Just know that everything gets better. We’re living proof of that.”
To anyone who needs to hear it right now..it all gets better. ✂️❤️ pic.twitter.com/s8s7zzKUYe
— Anthony Bowens (@Bowens_Official) September 27, 2022
Fans responded to Bowen’s comments with unwavering solidarity, saying: “It means a lot to watch a male wrestler who’s open about, and proud of, his sexuality, without said sexuality being turned into a bad gimmick.”
Others shared their own experiences while thanking Anthony Bowens for his kind words, with one saying: “Words will never explain how much this video meant to me.”
After winning the match, posted a tweet saying: “When my Nana passed in 2015 I promised her I’d be a success. Nana, I made it!”
Anthony Bowens: ‘Representation is ever-growing’
Throughout his career, Anthony Bowens has become a representative of the improvements the wrestling industry has made for marginalised groups including people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community in recent years.
The late 90s and early 2000s – commonly known as the “attitude era” – is notorious for mistreating marginalised stars and using them as the butt of jokes or for demeaning gimmicks.
Most notable was the women’s division at the time being used as an excuse to put professional athletes in mud-bath matches and over-sexualised clothing for the predominantly cishet, straight, male audience to gawk at.
In a PinkNews interview from February, Bowens explained how AEW has made incredible leaps to showcase everyone properly.
“The representation is ever-growing,” he said. “And we’re all prominently featured on television, too. Nyla Rose was the first trans woman to be a champion on television and I’m in the main event of Dynamite. We’re not afraid at AEW to let our performers go out there and be themselves.
“When I got down [to AEW], the locker room was so relaxed and you weren’t walking on eggshells and everyone was very friendly.
“I saw Nyla and Sonny walking around just openly being themselves and there was no judgement there.”
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