Two years ago, professional wrestler Anthony Bowens came as as bisexual. Last night, he came out again: as gay.
For many people, discovering themselves remains a lifelong journey. In postings on social media, Bowens, 28, revealed more of his own journey over recent months.
‘In short, just about two years ago I came out as bisexual which was truely [sic] how I viewed myself at the time. However, over the last six months or so I’ve started to less identify less and less with that label to the point where it doesn’t feel like “me” anymore.
‘As people move on in their lives, the way they view the world and themselves tends to change and I’m no different. Which is why if you are to label me, I prefer to identify as gay.’
Bowens says he offers more of an explanation in a video he has made with his boyfriend, Michael Pavano.
‘There will be a mixed range of reactions and I address each one of them in the video,’ says Bowens. ‘But anyway, thank you to everyone for reading and your continued support of Michael and I. I’m looking forward to continuing to entertain you in 2019 whether that be on YouTube, the ring, or beyond!’
‘I really didn’t know much about the LGBTQ community’
In the video, Bowens addresses some of the questions he believes some people might have – and some of the potential criticism.
Firstly, he didn’t originally come out as bisexual ‘to hide the fact’ he’s gay.
He says he never had a moment of clarity when he was younger that told him he was gay. He was primarily interested in women.
‘I really didn’t have a thought of men until maybe midway through high school, towards the latter end, I had a dream about one of my friends. But after that dream I was like, “Ooooh. Something’s different here.” … And then I identified myself then as liking both genders.
‘I came out as bisexual, which … was a very real thing. I identified as bisexual because I really didn’t know much about the LGBTQ community. I didn’t really dive into much because I was closeted. So the closest thing that I knew that I could relate to based upon that time period of my life was bisexual.
‘The way you look at yourself changes’
‘As you get older, your viewpoints change,’ he explains. ‘The way you look at the world changes, the way you look at yourself changes.
‘Specifically more so in the past couple of months, this past year, I was looking back at some old articles of mine because I was coming up with a new character for my wrestling career. And the articles kept labelling me as bisexual, and it was kind of annoying me that they had to continually put what I was, I couldn’t just be a professional wrestler, he’s the “bisexual pro wrestler”, but I just wasn’t identifying with that term any more.’
He goes on to say that his relationship with Pavaro has had an impact on the way he defines himself. The two met in the summer of 2016.
‘I’m in love with Michael. I want to marry Michael. I’m picturing myself being with a man for the rest of my life, so the term bisexual just felt less and less me the more time went on. And I now feel more comfortable labelling myself as gay.’
Biphobia among gay people
Bisexual people often experience biphobia or stigma within gay communities, or can even find themselves viewed with suspicion or distrust. Bowens is aware that some people may use his coming out as gay to support their own prejudices towards bisexual people. He says it must not be taken that way.
‘There are people who truly do identify as bisexual. And there are some people out there who will use that just because they are afraid to say that they’re gay, but not everybody’s like that, and I don’t think they should be judged for it because everybody has their own way of figuring themselves out.
‘Please don’t be a hypocrite. I think it’s very hypocritical as people who identify as LGBT who get judged by a lot of people about our lifestyle, then turn around and judge others in the same community…. I don’t understand why that happens or how that happens, but it does.
‘And I think you are a part of the problem if you are one of those people. So please do not be a hypocrite.’
Reactions to Bowens announcement on social media have been overwhelmingly positive.
‘The LGBT Community is often referred to as an accepting community but sometimes it couldn’t be further from the truth. People need to learn to just be people. I am happy for you and your future,’ said Neil Allen on YouTube.
‘Dude… I get it,’ said @AnitaChainsaw on Twitter. ‘I’m still figuring out my gender identity at fucking 34. We all change and find what fits us best over time, and whatever you think works best for you, I wish you all the happiness in the world.’
‘No greater feeling then learning more about yourself and who your true self is,’ said Kevin Nicholls on Facebook. ‘No need to apologize to anyone and what an exciting time it must be for you to continue to grow and develop into your full self. Congrats.’