Wrestler Anthony Bowens has clapped back at homophobes on social media who have told him not to talk about his sexuality.
On Monday, Bowens published a moving letter in The Players Tribune to his fans and supporters. In it, he talked about how he’d been passed over when he tried out for WWE in 2015. He said the feedback he got was that he looked great and performed magnificently in the ring. However, when he had a mic in his hand, he lacked personality.
Bowens says he knew he wasn’t able to project his personality because he was hiding a big part of himself.
“I think I knew the truth: As long as I was closeted as a wrestler, I wasn’t going to reach my full potential. Because I wasn’t going to be able to tap into everything that makes me me,” Bowens wrote.
He publicly came out in March 2017. At the time, he said he was bisexual. Two years later, he posted a video to say that he was more comfortable with the label ‘gay’.
In 2020, he signed a five-year deal with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) which has seen his profile soar. Last year, he made history as the first out-gay wrestler to win an AEW championship.
He said he wanted to thank the fans for supporting him.
“Thanks for letting a queer Black kid from New Jersey live out his wrestling dream.”
Some fans unhappy with Bowens sharing his story
The beautiful letter was praised by many. However, it turns out some wrestling fans didn’t want to know about it. For them, Bowens was obviously harping on about his sexuality a bit too much.
The wrestler, who now lives in LA with his longtime boyfriend, Michael Pavano, took a screenshot of some of the more ignorant replies. He also posted a message in response, basically telling the homophobes that he wasn’t sharing his experiences for them but speaking out more for queer youth in need of role models.
“I’m not posting this because it bothers me but more to explain something because the
@PlayersTribune got such a big reaction,” he said.
“I get both positive and negative comments that say ‘who cares, we support you’ or ‘it doesn’t matter..he’s talking about it too much’ in regards to my speaking about being an out athlete. My kind of activism isn’t in your face, but I do not shy away from talking about it when asked, and there’s really never a time where I’m not asked about it.
“If you’re someone making that comment… THIS part of my life isn’t for YOU. It’s for those that can relate to me and the struggles that I have gone through in my life because of it. I didn’t have someone to look up to and now I have the opportunity to be that others. So yes, it DOES matter.”
“Those are HUMAN experiences that a lot can relate to”
Tn his letter, Bowens had also talked about losing his grandma just after he was turned down by WWE. He said there was plenty more to him than his sexuality that might strike a chord with straight wrestling fans.
“There are plenty of other things that YOU can relate to outside of that..whether that is just the love of pro wrestling in general, losing an important loved one and promising to make them proud, getting bullied in elementary school, a POC getting called the N word in high school, overcoming being a shy introverted kid, my body transformation in the gym, etc. The list goes on.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, those are HUMAN experiences that a lot can relate to no matter what your belief’s are. If you’re choosing to focus centrally on the LGBTQ+ stuff then you’re tipping hand to being someone that leads with hate.
“Focus on the things that bring us all together, rather than getting angry at the things that make us different. You’ll live a lot happier life. See you on #AEWDynamite ✂️”
I'm not posting this because it bothers me but more to explain something because the @PlayersTribune got such a big reaction. I get both positive and negative comments that say "who cares, we support you" or "it doesn't matter..he's talking about it too much" in regards to my… pic.twitter.com/zMNC8ZX7mn— Anthony Bowens (@Bowens_Official) September 25, 2023
Who would like to get slammed by Mr Bowens?
“Checking off life goals one by one together.”