When professional wrestler Anthony Bowens posted a video of himself goofing off with his boyfriend, Michael Pavano, he didn’t think too much of it.
“It was this past fall and I was three months into a relationship with my boyfriend, Michael Pavano. Mike and I had uploaded a video to YouTube on his channel called ‘The Laughing Challenge,’ where he described me as his boyfriend,” 26-year-old Bowens explains in an op-ed published by OutSports.
“The video was a blast to do, but I worried that someone from the wrestling world would stumble across it and learn my secret. I decided to let it be posted anyway.”
It wasn’t until weeks after the video had been online that his received a text message from one of his wrestling buddies.
“Bro, why didn’t you tell me?” the text read.
“Much to my great relief, he told me he didn’t care and that I was one of his best friends in the business,” Bowens says.
In January, Bowens decided to make the announcement “official” on Facebook:
“After hitting send, I immediately turned off my phone. I didn’t want to think about what people would write. After about 30 minutes I told Mike to check his phone,” Bowens recalls. “He had the biggest smile on his face, our friends in the room cheered, and I made the decision to turn on my phone. The response was overwhelming positive.”
Since then, Bowens hasn’t been shy about sharing his relationship for the world to see on social media:
Bowens concludes by writing:
I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I’ve spoken to over the years who are hiding and suppressing themselves out of fear of being judged. If I can help inspire at least one person to fight past their struggles through my journey or inspire at least one person to live their dreams, it’s all worth it for me. The journey and the fight is just beginning!
Check out the adorable video that started it all below…