Big deal on Drudge yesterday about WWE wrestler Darren Young possibly breaking kayfabe and coming out to TMZ. (Although the timing of this suggests at least the possibility that this is a work and not a shoot.) Whatever. It’s been months since Jason Collins and the media is thrilled.
It’s not clear why this is a big deal, though, since wrestling has been toying with gayness and sexuality for a long time. There was Adorable Adrian Adonis, who was half gay, half crossdresser, and 100 percent fantastic. (Adrian was one of the best heels of the ’80s and a great performer.) Gorgeous George and Jesse the Body were flamboyant as all get out. Goldust was . . . I’m not even sure what category that gimmick falls into.
Heck, the WWE once hosted an in-ring same-sex wedding between Billy and Chuck. (You can read a whole essay on the evolution of gay characters in pro wrestling here.)
I know, I know: Darren Young is talking about his real life and Adrian Adonis and all the rest are just make-believe “characters.”
But if you want to actually appreciate how far we’ve come in regards to tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality in the culture, Darren Young’s “real life” is actually less important than the make-believe. (I put this in quotes because, as the Masked Man frequently points out, in wrestling we can never been entirely sure which “reality” is which.)
No, the real progress is that it no longer works in wrestling to signal that a character is a heel just by making him flamboyantly gay. That’s wonderful.
On the other hand, they now signal that a character is a heel by suggesting that he has an affinity for the Tea Party. I suppose you could say the progress goes both ways.
So to speak.
By the by, if you can’t get enough of the wrasslin’, this will blow your skirt up: