Darren Young, aka Fred Rosser, made history in WWE when he became the first openly gay WWE Superstar after he came out to TMZ in the Summer of 2013.
When speaking to Sportskeeda, Rosser openly discusses why he came out while still being an active competitor in WWE, how other superstars reacted to his coming out and what he thinks of Finn Balor representing the LGBTQ community as an ally on WWE television.
Gary Cassidy of Sportskeeda sent along the following highlights:
On why he came out as gay while in WWE, when no-one ever had before:
Well, for me, there are many reasons why I ultimately came out to the world but one of the main reasons that I came out was because I found love, and my own happiness is more important than anything, even my career.
I sacrificed my career and my childhood dream so I could inspire others to be themselves and accept themselves. I came out because I ultimately wanted to bring my partner... I hate using the word "partner", I wanted to be able to bring my boyfriend to red carpet events, I wanted him to be able to experience what it's like backstage in the masculine world of professional wrestling, so I wanted him to be able to experience what I experienced and be proud to show him off to the world, and I did that.
I didn't realize my story was a big deal when I came out until, of all people, the icon Cher reached out to me on social media and said, because of her hearing my story, one of her friends is a big wrestling fan, so she thanked me and it was at that minute I realized my story was a big f***ing deal.
On other Superstars reacting to him coming out, and one Hall of Famer having a very awkward interaction beforehand:
When I came out, I was very fearful. Fearful of the unknown, fearful of losing my job, but when guys like Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Big Show, Titus O'Neil, Sheamus - when those guys embrace you... CM Punk also, of all people, when they embrace you with open arms, it makes it that much easier for me to walk into a locker room, it makes it much easier for me to go out there and wow the crowd and perform.
It was Mark Henry, years ago, before I came out, he kind of outed me a little bit. I just came up onto the main roster from NXT1, the original NXT, and, at the time, I had this gold sequence around my hair, and my hair was spiky. I felt like I was looking fly, flash and fabulous, but Mark Henry in the locker room said,
"Why do you got your hair like that, boy? It makes you look gay." I was just like, blown away. I said, "Mark, I'm just trying to look different, I'm trying to stand out."
Fast forward to when I came out publicly, like I said, he was one of the first guys to embrace me and then he was like, "Boy, how come you didn't tell me? How come you didn't tell me?" I said, "Mark, man, I was fearful of the unknown, man."
On Finn Balor's LGBT Work:
When I got released from WWE, over two years ago, I wasn't really upset over it, nothing last forever. I always said, Michael Jordan can't play basketball forever. Not saying I'm Michael Jordan, but... You know, you know, he can't perform forever so when I got released, you know, it is what it is, I was already living out in California because I wanted to get into some acting and commercials.
But months later, at WrestleMania, WWE had finally embraced the LGBTQ movement but they did it on a straight guy, Finn. When I seen that the next day, this was at WrestleMania, the next day, Monday, I was devastated, man. I cried like a baby. I cried like a baby because I'd just been released and then they are finally embracing the LGBT movement but they are doing it with Finn. It broke my heart. I'm a grown man. 35 years old and I cried like a baby. But, like I said, if it wasn't for me making that sacrifice, I don't think we would have been able to fully embrace the LGBTQ movement.
You can follow Rosser on Twitter, here!