Be who you wanna be, brother. According to this article from The Huffington Post, that’s the message Hulk Hogan sent out in a recent interview.
“I think everybody’s been reeducated, so it’s not that big a deal,” said Hogan when asked about the spate of professional athletes, including World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Darren Young, who have come out in recent years.
“At least for me — and I can only speak from my heart — I’ve got people all around me who are gay, so it’s not an issue with me,” shared Hogan during an in-person meeting at the new Santa Clara, California-based Levi’s Stadium, which will house WrestleMania 31 next March 29. “I think the whole world feels like that now.”
In an emotional episode of the WWE Network’s Legends’ House, Pat Patterson publicly came out after 50 years in the wrestling industry. While it may not have been the most guarded secret in pro wrestling, both Patterson and Young have helped to signal a change in how pro wrestling is becoming more accepting of those who are a part of the LGBTQ community.
“I knew Pat was gay back in 1976, when he helped me start wrestling,” Hogan stated. “Whenever I see Pat, I give him a big hug and kiss. He’s my guy! There are several wrestlers in Japan who are gay,” he continued, “I’ve just never looked at it as anything weird. It was normal.”
“Back when Pat was wrestling, he was afraid to be who he really is — or was meant to be — because of all this stuff he inherited from society,” he explained, “‘You’re supposed to be this tough wrestler.’ ‘You’re supposed to be this good-looking, platinum blonde champion who goes out and dates the best looking women.’ ‘You’re supposed to be this.’ ‘You’re supposed to be that.'”
“But that’s not true!” Hogan concluded emphatically, “Pat Patterson is supposed to be who he’s meant to be, not who people think he should be, if that makes any sense.”
This isn’t the first time Hulk Hogan has made pro-LGBTQ statements. Back in 2012, he told Wendy Williams that “…it’s tough because a lot of my friends in normal life, a lot of my friends in the entertainment business, and a lot of my friends in the wrestling business are gay. ” This, of course, followed accusations from his ex-wife Linda that he and fellow WWF star Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake had a gay affair. “Just to say something spiteful and hurtful, I don’t get it…if it was true and I was gay, I’d embrace it, and I’d tell you guys about it and I’d celebrate it.”
…the world — and the pro wrestling industry as a result — has been reeducated to see people differently. The once-standard archetypes have been broken down, he said, indicating they have no place in professional wrestling… on — or off — camera. Indeed, the WWE frequently partners with Gays & Lesbians Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and even launched its own Be a Star anti-bullying campaign.
“That barbaric mindset we inherited is not a set piece in people’s minds,” Hogan asserted.
It seems a bit far fetched to the regular Raw viewer – we still see coded language, racist stereotypes, and a Divas division that has improved from the past but still has about a million miles to go before they reach any amount of equal respect. One just has to wait for The Rock to reappear as a reminder that, for all of the Be A Star campaigns and GLAAD partnerships, WWE is in desperate need of practicing what they preach. That said, statements like this from titans of the pro wrestling world are what we need to help change even the most ingrained attitudes in a fandom that has been conditioned to see that anything but what pro wrestling has built up as the masculine ideal is weak and wrong.
These days, Hulk Hogan the television personality comes off as a tired, cartoonish construct of Vince McMahon, relying on his past glories and thirty-year-old catchphrases. During these segments, we roll our eyes and wait patiently to return to the Superstars of today. It becomes hard to separate Hulk Hogan from Terry Bollea, real life person, after he’s lived inside the tall tales of wrestling history for so long. If there were ever a time to take pause, however, and really listen to what he’s trying to put out there, I feel like this is it.
Actually, you should also remember take your vitamins. Vitamins and equality are good for everyone.