Lesbian wrestler Charlie Morgan talks about coming out in the ring and the lack of gay WWE Superstars
While much of the pro-wrestling landscape is dominated by the WWE, there are a number of independent companies doing things a little differently.
In the UK, the underground promotion Pro-Wrestling:EVE – co-promoted by husband and wife team Dann and Emily Read – has been grabbing the headlines for its feminist, punk rock, all female live shows.
Last month during its Dangerous Woman show, one of its wrestlers Charlie Morgan – real name Yasmin Lander – came out as gay publicly in the ring as part of a promo, to a chorus of cheers from the crowd.
Here, she tells PinkNews what it was like to make such a public statement in the squared circle, and dissects the lack of LGBT representation in the business.
On why she decided to come out so publicly, Yasmin explained that it was actually Dann who suggested to her that she come out during a promo.
“I was a little bit taken aback, because even in this day and age it’s still a little bit of a touchy subject,” she said.
“I was extremely nervous. I always get nervous before any wrestling match but this particular segment, I was very, very nervous for because I was passionate about what I wanted going to say.
“There was umming and aahing and about what I could and couldn’t say, which was the point of the promo, that everyone’s so scared of mentioning the word ‘gay’.
“How are people ever meant to be encouraged to come out if everyone’s scared to mention the fricking word?”
She added: “I was really taken aback by the positive response I’ve had since doing the promo.
“To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect and and I didn’t expect to have the response that I’ve had.
“One of the lines in the promo was ‘DO you think I’m scared to say it, do you think I’m scared to say I’m gay’. And then I let the crowd react and I didn’t expect the crowd to react how they did.
“I was taken aback and I was a bit emotional actually. In my promo I’m angry because every word I’m saying I feel passionate about.”
Asked about the current lack of LGBT representation in the wrestling business, Yasmin said: “I hope that in the future, just like in society, things will change.
“It shouldn’t just be that you’re white and you’re straight and that’s cool – it shouldn’t matter what race you are, what your sexual orientation is, it doesn’t change you as a person, just be yourself.
“I’m just a good a worker as somebody who is straight, it shouldn’t matter what race you are, what sexuality you’re interested in. I still don’t understand in this day and age why people have an issue with it.”
The WWE does have out, gay wrestlers. While he was never publicly out during his wrestling career, Pat Patterson famously came out during an episode of WWE Network show Legends’ House in 2014.
And in 2013, Fred Rossler publicly came out, becoming the first WWE wrestler to do so while actually still signed to the company.
However, the company made clear soon after that his on-screen character Darren Young was not openly gay – at least not yet.
“Darren Young was the first WWE Superstar to really come out as being homosexual, but his character in the show is not” said Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon.
“At least, we haven’t done anything with it either way – just yet.”
Yasmin said: “What if I’m inspiring a 13-year-old girl who’s on the closet? What about people like that, too.
“I like to think that the WWE will hopefully move forward and develop past that along with society itself.
“With EVE’s ethos and how they are branded, I think it’s great, because it gives a platform to people like me to shout from the rooftops what I believe in.
“EVE’s whole ethos on what they stand for is completely different to any other promotion.”
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Yasmin said: “If I went to WWE I’m 99.9% sure that I would not have been given this opportunity,
“I’m much more proud of myself and my character for doing what I’ve done a few weeks ago.
“I’m not bitter or anything that I’m not there at the WWE, or that they haven’t been touch … I’m happy with the progress that I’m making.
“There was a point in time where I would have jumped at the chance – not to say that if a contract was waved in front of my face that I’d shoo it away – but there’s a lot more to think about now.”
Buy tickets for upcoming Pro-Wrestling:EVE shows right here