wrestling Gay Wrestlers Throughout Pro Wrestling History

Erik Barnes
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There have been many unsung personalities in popular culture who are a part of the gay community. As we have evolved in our culture's view of homosexuality, many are learning more and more about the lives of gay rock stars, gay movie stars, and even gay WWE superstars, both closeted and open.

There have been a number of gay wrestlers and managers throughout pro wrestling history, even during times where being openly homosexual was considered a criminal act in some areas. Check out this list of gay WWE wrestlers, managers, and other people who have contributed to the history of pro wrestling that paved the way for other homosexual wrestlers to thrive and live their lives openly, freely, and proudly.

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One of the longest tenured employees in WWE, Pat Patterson has worked as a wrestler, a referee, a commentator, a producer, and now currently serves as a creative consultant. Patterson was WWE's first Intercontinental Champion and would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996. While it was known that Patterson was gay since the 1970s, it was not publicly acknowledged until the season finale of WWE Legends' House in 2014.

Also Ranked

#65 on The Greatest WWE Superstars of All Time

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Former WCW and WWE wrestler Chris Kanyon has been praised by many fans as one of the more innovative wrestlers of his generation. Kanyon would achieve success in WCW as a tag team champion and in WWE as a United States Champion. Late in his career, Kanyon would come out as gay after being closeted for decades. Tragically, a few years after coming out, he was found dead at his home on April 2, 2010.

Also Ranked

#68 on The Best WCW Wrestlers of All Time

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Darren Young


Darren Young is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Gay Wrestlers Throughout Pro Wrestling History
Photo: WWE
The Prime Time Player and former Nexus member Darren Young is the first wrestler to publicly come out as gay while currently signed on the WWE main roster. Young casually outed himself when he was interviewed by TMZ on August 15, 2013. Young has been a journeyman wrestler for WWE since 2010 and has won tag team gold with his PTP partner, Titus O'Neil.

"The Grand Wizard" Ernie Roth


Ernie Roth is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Gay Wrestlers Throughout Pro Wrestling History
Photo: Freebase
Manager of such dastardly heels as Mr. Fuji, the Iron Sheik, and Don Muraco, the Grand Wizard would distract opponents and the fans with his wraparound sunglasses, flamboyant sequined jackets, and technicolor turbans. Roth would cause havoc at ringside from the 1960s all the way up until he passed away in 1983. He was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995 by his friend and former protége, Sgt. Slaughter.
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Cassandro


Cassandro is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Gay Wrestlers Throughout Pro Wrestling History
Photo: daniela/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
While exóticos have been a part of lucha libre since the 1940s, most of the luchadores that were exóticos were typically straight men in drag. They weren't supposed to be taken seriously against rudos or técnicos. Then came Cassandro. Don't let his flamboyance fool you, Cassandro is just as tough as he is fun, competing in top promotions such as AAA and Ring of Honor in his 20+ year career. 
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Sandy Parker is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Gay Wrestlers Throughout Pro Wrestling History
Photo:  RING Wrestling Magazine
Raised by her grandparents, Sandy Parker fought and clawed with every inch of her petite 5'2" frame to succeed. In the 1970s, it was hard enough for a woman to get respect in a male dominated industry like pro wrestling, so you can imagine the struggles that Parker had to go through as a black lesbian in that time.
 
Nevertheless, Parker would overcome and have a successful wrestling career in the United States and in Japan where she won the All-Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling WWWA World Championship. In 2004, she was given honors by her peers at the Cauliflower Alley Club, an organization consisting of retired pro wrestling personalities.
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Rosa Mendes


Rosa Mendes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Gay Wrestlers Throughout Pro Wrestling History
Photo: WWE
WWE Diva Search contestent Rosa Mendes helped manage Epico and Primo to a tag team championship run back in 2012 before becoming Fandango's new dance partner. While she has had a "now-you-see-it-now-you-don't" run on WWE programming, she makes her mark as a staple on the E! reality show Total Divas. While Mendes currently has a male partner, she came out as bisexual in 2014.

Jim Barnett


Jim Barnett is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Gay Wrestlers Throughout Pro Wrestling History
Photo: Mike Mooneyham
Jim Barnett was one of the more influential promoters and figures in the National Wrestling Alliance during pro wrestling's territory days. While a former wrestler, Barnett became better known as president of Georgia Championship Wrestling and helped launch the golden age of wrestling in Australia. Despite the common homophobia of the times, Barnett never hid the fact that he was gay from his business partners or wrestlers and continued to broker deals for Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, and the World Wrestling Federation.
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