In 2013, Darren Young became WWE’s first openly gay wrestler, or at least the first one to make a public statement (guys like Pat Patterson are open in their personal lives, and have long been acknowledged as gay). Young’s coming out was a major media story, and WWE issued a statement of support, but you wouldn’t really know anything happened from just watching WWE programming. Young is basically just playing a pumped up version of himself, and he’s always been gay, so why would his character change? Since he came out, I’ve always just assumed Young’s character is gay, and WWE was actually being kind of progressive and not making a big deal about it. I don’t think I was alone in that assumption.
Well, get ready to be confused because, in an interview with the Daily Beast, Stephanie McMahon said Darren Young is gay, but his character is not.
“Darren Young was the first WWE superstar to really come out as being homosexual, but his character in the show is not. At least, we haven’t done anything with it either way — just yet.”
So, will Young’s on-screen character ever come out? Steph hedged her bets pretty hard on that one…
“It could very well pop up in WWE because we are all about what’s relevant, and what’s pop culture, and what people want to see. So if there is an opportunity, we might just take it.”
This just doesn’t make a lot of sense. We live in an era where the line between a wrestler’s personal life and their on-screen character has pretty thoroughly obliterated. WWE spins storylines out of Twitter and social media all the time, and parades their talents’ personal relationships across the screen weekly on Total Divas. At this point, saying Darren Young is gay, but his character isn’t, is like saying John Cena is dating Nikki Bella, but his WWE character is single and ready to mingle.
Obviously, WWE thinks there’s some sort of public image issue with Young’s character being gay. Perhaps they think the audience would react poorly, but, again, I think most of the audience already thought his character was gay, and they’ve been behaving themselves just fine. Maybe they’re just kind of embarrassed that they barely used the guy for many months after his brave statement.
Speaking of statements, it’s kind of telling that the Daily Beast’s article contains quotes from Stephanie McMahon, multiple former WWE writers and a GLAAD spokesperson, but nothing from Young himself. I’d like to hear what he has to say about his character not being gay, but, as is too often the case, WWE is doing the talking for him.
via the Daily Beast