WWE lesbian wrestling star Sonya Deville has opened up about what it was like to come out on national television three years ago.
Deville spoke candidly with Sky Sports about the experience, saying she did it almost accidentally.
She said she was on the show when they were doing the preliminary taping of the first premiere episode when she was asked if she was in a relationship.
Deville said she was “not expecting that question,” but handled it in the only way she could: by telling the truth.
Deville Coming out
“I thought ‘what do I do… well, tell the truth, right?’ So I said, ‘yeah, I have a girlfriend, but she’s not my wife yet’.
“I got nervous, and they all started smiling. I said, ‘oh my god, I just came out on national television’. And Triple H replied, ‘yeah you did!’ I just came back with, ‘oh well, that’s that!’”
Deville said it was a “spontaneous moment” and “truly wasn’t planned,” but added that she is grateful that it happened.
“It not only gave me a new realisation of what it means to be open and true to myself, but I feel like it helped me inspire other people.”
Deville’s advice to people who are afraid of coming out is to “do it,” adding that it was the “best thing that ever happened” to her.
She added that she was not saying that there would not be trials and tribulations along the way. However, she is keen for LGBT+ people to know that the best way they can live their lives is by being true to themselves.
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Deville said she takes her status as a role model in the LGBT+ community seriously. She wants children to look at her and think: “Wow, if she did it, then maybe it’s OK that I do it.”
“We’re all equal and we should treat each other as such,” Deville added.
During her interview with Sky Sports, she was also presented with a pair of Rainbow Laces.
Deville, whose real name is Daria Berenato, has made a name for herself as both an LGBT+ icon as well as a wrestling star in WWE.
In 2015, after she came out as a lesbian on television, she spoke to New Jersey’s 6ABC News about the experience.
“I’ve gotten so much generosity and so much love so far. People from all kinds of LGBT organisations reaching out saying, ‘What you did was amazing, thank you for representing our families,’ and that kind of stuff,” said the former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.
“If I can help people in this process and be a voice to people who might be intimidated of coming out themselves or are scared to or think that it’s wrong and they see me doing it in front of pretty big people in the WWE world, hopefully it will give them the courage to do it.”
Earlier this year, Deville praised WWE for releasing a new T-shirt devoted to wrestler Finn Balor that features the rainbow flag. 20 percent of proceeds from the inclusive tee will go to LGBT+ organisation GLAAD.
“I proudly support this message! Being a part of the LGBT community myself in the @WWE its such a great feeling to see @FinnBalor speaking out with such an amazing positive message! 🏳️🌈 #EQUALITY,” she wrote.