Dave Marshall is a personal trainer and openly gay wrestler from Perth, Australia.
The 29-year-old first became interested in wrestling at the age of eight, when his brother introduced him to his first ever wrestling show.
‘It was like watching real life superheroes,’ he told Gay Star News.
Ever since then, he became fascinated with the spectacle and the physical endurance of the sport.
He said he wasn’t very confident in himself while growing up.
Marshall started his wrestling career in 2015, at the age of 26. He was in sales before he started working on his dream of becoming a wrestler.
He now wrestles for Perth-based wrestling company Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance. For almost 10 years, they’ve held monthly shows all across Western Australia’s capital city.
Marshall’s wrestling persona is a ‘much more cocky, arrogant and aggressive version of myself, turned up to 11,’ he revealed.
He trains two to four times a week, for two hours at a time. Marshall said it’s ‘a lot of rolls and falls training with huge amounts of cardio.’
Wrestling is also the reason he got into his personal training career.
‘Wrestling had always been the reason I got into fitness and is a big part of what keeps me going,’ he said. ‘I wanted to be a wrestler since I was 10 and am finally living the dream.’
Gay wrestler: ‘I owed it to myself’ to come out
Around the time Marshall started wrestling, his life also changed dramatically for another reason – he came out as gay.
‘I had hooked up with guys in my early years of high school, although it was always in secret,’ he said. ‘I ended up in and out of relationships with girls.
‘The last one when I was 18 – that lasted for seven years. I told her when we were 23 I was bi but [she said] as long as I loved her, she didn’t care,’ he said.
But by the age of 25, he couldn’t keep it in anymore. He came out to his girlfriend as gay and then they broke up.
‘We are still friends to this day,’ he said. ‘I owed it to myself to explore [it] at a mature age.’
When he told his family and friends he was gay, they were all supportive. He said: ‘Fortunately, not a single person has been negative towards my coming out.
‘My family – even a very homophobic uncle – were all very supportive,’ he said.
Finding family in wrestling
Dave Marshall said his fellow wrestlers have been completely supportive of his sexuality.
‘Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance has been like a family to me since day one,’ the gay wrestler said. ‘They don’t treat me any different.’
The 6’3″ Aussie said he’s not experienced any homophobia during his wrestling career, although his sexuality isn’t part of his on stage persona.
When asked if he would consider introducing it to his character, he responded: ‘As long as it’s done in a correct way, I am not against it.
‘It shouldn’t change much,’ he said.
He then added: ‘[Being gay] is not any different to being straight.’
Making adult content to fight LGBTI suicide
Soon after Marshall broke up with his girlfriend in 2015, he started dating guys. He began a relationship with a man, lasting about three years.
They only recently broke up.
But before they did, his ex encouraged him to start an OnlyFans account. OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform that allows users to access X-rated content from someone, with a small monthly fee.
Marshall wasn’t initially sure about starting it so took some time to think.
The gay wrestler eventually began posting content in March this year and says he wanted it to be a little different.
He explained: ‘After some thought, I did start it up with part [of the] proceeds going to Beyond Blue – a suicide prevention charity.’
The reason he wanted to help this charity is because his dad took his own life last year.
In an Instagram post, Marshall revealed: ‘The reason the money I raise from my OnlyFans goes towards Beyond Blue is seeing everyday how big depression and anxiety has become in society and almost overlooked.
‘[It’s my] first time saying this but my father took his life last year.’
Marshall then added: ‘Older men have a “Harden the fuck up” mentality they were brought up with.
‘Stats on LGBT in this area are quite scary too so I hope I can in some way, give back to my community. Positivity is everything,’ he said.
So far, Marshall has raised $5,000AUD ($3,617US) for the suicide prevention charity.
He posts regular updates to his Instagram about the initiative, including screenshots of the confirmation emails Beyond Blue sends him after every donation.
Marshall recently started dating someone new, but says his new boyfriend is not publicly out as gay so it wouldn’t be fair to name him.
‘We have very similar values,’ Marshall revealed. ‘He is very driven in his work, has a passion for fitness and makes me feel like a million dollars.
‘And of course is gorgeous,’ he jokes.