He said WHAT?
In an interview with Gay Star News posted on Wednesday, professional wrestler Mike Parrow opened up for the first time about his sexuality and his long journey of self-acceptance.
Given his small town upbringing, the athlete — who stands 6’4″ and weighs 300 pounds — had trouble finding people who could empathize with his situation.
“I’ve always known I’m gay. That was never a question in my mind. But growing up, I went to Catholic school my whole life. My mom’s a Sunday school teacher. I came from a small town in upstate New York. It didn’t have a flourishing gay community… The only exposure I saw of any gay culture was extremely effeminate and that was what was on TV. I’m not like Jack on Will and Grace, so I’m not gay.”
After moving to Florida in his 20s to attend wrestling school, the now-34-year-old thought the relocation would give him a chance to explore his sexuality. Sadly, it was “the worst experience” of his life.
“I’m in a new town, nobody knows me. I’m in my late 20s. Let’s give this a go!… It was absolutely the worst experience in my life… Gay men can be the meanest, cruelest people you’ve ever met in your life. I was ‘fat,’ I was ‘ugly,’ I’m a ‘closet case,’ and at the time I was just looking to understand what’s going on.”
Parrow even claims he was “masculine shamed,” an experience that put him “further back in the closet.”
“I learned you can get very much masculine shamed in the gay community as of late, which is really weird, but it happens… And so that put me further back in the closet than going forward. So I buried myself in wrestling and focused on my career. And I had some success, but that was always in the back of my mind.”
Due to his struggles, Parrow became “massively depressed,” “very lonely,” and suicidal. At one point, he even paid for gay conversion therapy.
“It was an absolute joke. Kind of hilarious. Basically, it was just them saying, ‘We’re going to set you up with girls and that’s what you’re going to like.”‘
Luckily, Mike’s life changed for the better, and he recently got engaged to his fiancé Morgan.
Shortly after meeting his love, Parrow came out to friends and family four and a half years ago.
“I told my dad and he was like, ‘Yeah?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah?’ And he was like, ‘Well, you’ve got to give me some credit. I am a detective. I kind of figured that out of all the girls you kept denying that you didn’t like girls, I was just waiting for you to tell me!'”
Sounds like Mike has finally embraced his true self!
[Image via Instagram.]