Jake Atlas shares his amazing story.
2017's Southern California Rookie Wrestler of the year, Jake Atlas, recently revealed that he was gay. Atlas spoke with GayStarNews and the two parties discussed Atlas's love for the sport of wrestling, his mother's reaction to him deciding that he was going to announce the news and more.
Atlas stated that he was curious as a young child; for example, being interested in his mother's clothing.
“I was fascinated by mother’s wardrobe, appearance and attitude. Then I felt an attraction to a family friend I lived with when I was younger. I noticed that I had an urge to hug him, kiss him and always be near him. Later, new attractions arose as I grew up and it was hard for me to cope with what I was feeling. I began to bully the boys I felt I liked and I hated myself. I knew that being gay was something that wouldn’t be accepted in my family.”
The 23 year old stated that his mother felt that he should keep the news to himself, but he did otherwise and was not afraid to share his story with the world.
“My mom would always tell me that no one would care and that I should keep it private". He added. "She said that it was nobody’s business. She said I should just live life hidden, but she doesn’t understand what it is like to be in these shoes. Wrestling is also a very masculine sport that is sometimes not the most progressive. I was afraid of any hate, backlash and rejection from it. I was afraid that it would hold me back from achieving my lifelong dream of one day wrestling for the WWE.”
Although coming out for Atlas may have been a breath of fresh air, there are times when he still gets down on himself. He says that depression is still with him despite his success.
"I suffer from depression and anxiety. That was found in 2015 when I actually broke the C6 bone in my neck. Essentially, a broken neck. I contemplated suicide and had my first suicide attempt shortly thereafter. Growing up, I always had instances of anxiety and would suffer from attacks, but I was completely in the dark about what they were or why. Mexican culture is known to disregard mental illness and not believe in it, so my mom would always say that it was asthma or lack of nutrients. I know now that in my childhood, with everything I had to endure, they were all triggers that forced me into anxiety. It’s something still to this day I suffer from.”
As noted, Atlas won the 2017 Southern California Rookie of the year award and he described what receiving that honor meant to him.
"Winning the 2017 Southern California Rookie of the Year award has been my proudest accomplishment to date. It was a goal I set for myself two years ago when I returned to training after injury". Atlas added. "I’m so proud of my commitment and dedication to work so hard for this achievement. Santino Bros Wrestling Academy has produced a long line of winners and I was completely honored to have continued the tradition. I was honored to follow in my best friends’ and fellow wrestlers’ footsteps in Brody King and Douglas James and of course, it was an honor to be the first openly gay recipient of the award. I felt that it was a responsibility of mine to make that acknowledgment to inspire others and further promote my message that nothing should ever hold you back from breaking down barriers, stigmas and glass ceilings because of your differences.You can be special and you can make history, just like I did."
The sky is the limit for the 23 year old wrestler as he looks to be defined by his in-ring skill and not his sexuality. To read more of Atlas's comments, head over to G.S.N. for the full interview.