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Anthony Bowens Is Officially A World Champion & Remains A Gay Icon

Anthony Bowens Is Officially A World Champion & Remains A Gay Icon

Anthony Bowens
Courtesy of AEW

The out wrestler scored the World Championship belt in the world’s biggest pro-wrestling event.

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Out wrestler Anthony Bowens is officially a world champion along with being a gay icon and mega hunk.

According to AEW (All Elite Wrestling), this weekend’s World Championship event, which took place at Wembley Stadium in London, England, marks the biggest in pro wrestling history. This means there were 81,000 fans in the building watching Bowens and tag-team partner Max Caster (aka The Acclaimed) — who were joined by teammate Billy Gunn to fight in the ‘Trios’ category — compete and win the title. They defeated the House of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews) to earn the belts.

The win was deeply meaningful for Bowens, who wrote, “I still can’t process any of this. Thank you to everyone who has ever believed in me!” on Instagram.

Bowens continues to blaze a trail for gay athletes in the wrestling world. He first came out as bisexual in January 2017 in a cute “try not to laugh challenge” video with his boyfriend Michael Pavano.

TRY NOT TO LAUGH CHALLENGE

Two years later, Bowens clarified that he identifies as gay in another video with his boyfriend. “I prefer to be labeled now as gay,” Bowens said in the video. “Most people who come out say they had a moment in their youth when they figured out something was different,” Bowens continued. “They just knew they were gay. I never had one of those moments.” Growing up, he was mostly attracted to women, but in high school he realized his attraction for men, which is why he initially said he was bisexual. “I identified myself as bisexual because I didn’t know much about the LGBTQ community,” he said. “I didn’t dive in that much because I was still closeted.”

While WWE passed the wrestler over in 2015 despite his making a name for himself on the indie wrestling circuit, he was snapped up by AEW who offered him a five-year contract. And it’s where he has been enthusiastically embraced by the fandom.

During an AEW Rampage event in June, a female reporter entered the ring and claimed that Bowens was attracted to her, only to be greeted by the crowd cheering “he’s gay” in support of the wrestler. It was a moving moment for Bowens, who shared it on Instagram. “If you told me years ago I’d have an arena chanting HE’S GAY at me in the most POSITIVE of ways, I’d say you’re crazy. There’s obviously still progress to be made but I’m proud of how far we’ve come,” he wrote in the post.

Bowens is once again is proving why he’s a champ in and out of the ring and we love to see it.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Dread Central, Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Dread Central, Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.