Israeli pro-wrestling champion comes out as gay
The men’s champion of Israel’s pro-wrestling league has come out as gay, as the league goes rainbow for Tel Aviv Pride.
Nir Rotenberg, who performs as Rixon Ruas, won the Israeli pro-wrestling title this year – and has decided to come out publicly as gay, with full support from the league.
Historically, professional wrestling has not been friendly to LGBT athletes – however, WWE wrestler Chris Kanyon did come out after a suspected early retirement due to bias against his sexuality and openly lesbian wrestler Sonya Deville competed in Wrestlemania this year.
Speaking in Hebrew to WDG, in an interview then translated at A Wider Bridge (both Israeli LGBT sites) Rotenberg said that he had been motivated to come out publicly by the opportunity to become a role model for LGBT youth.
He said “I understood the extent of the responsibility and the influence that my actions have now that I am a champion, and I knew that it was time to come out of the closet in public.
“If I had a gay role model as a young wrestler, the fears I’ve had in the past would have been avoided.”
Rotenberg lives with his partner and his partner’s two children from a previous relationship and has been clear that his family and friends – as well as the Israeli Wrestling League, knew about his sexuality from the outset of his career.
However, he said that it was important for him to make that more public knowledge in order to continue to highlight and challenge the issues faced by LGBT people.
He said after an interview on Israeli television that a rabbi had suggested the movement had gone far enough.
Rotenberg disagreed “The rabbi said to me, ‘Look where you are – you’ve achieved enough,’ in a kind of hint that the LGBT community can stop and enjoy what we have, instead of continuing to fight. But if the people who were here before us weren’t fighting we wouldn’t have been where we are today.
And now we are here not only to enjoy the benefits that came from the results of the struggles conducted by our predecessors, but also to continue to fight for those who follow us. I don’t want to be the one in whose period the struggle was stopped because we apparently achieved enough. There’s so much to accomplish.”
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Speaking about the impact he hoped coming out would have, Rotenberg said that representing and fighting for the LGBT community was now a significant motivation in his career, moreso even than his own achievements.
“I’m not only doing this for me, but there’s a whole community behind every one of my achievements. Before I came out I was trying to succeed for me personally. Today it’s more because I want to represent my country and represent my community.”