wrestling / News

Sonny Kiss, Nyla Rose, & Anthony Bowens Discuss AEW’s Inclusivity For LGBTQ+ Talent, Signing Onto the Company

June 30, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Sonny Kiss AEW Dark

Nyla Rose, Sonny Kiss, and Anthony Bowens recently discussed AEW’s inclusivity toward LGBTQ+ talent and their decisions to join the company in interviews for a feature article. The three spoke with The Undefeated for a lengthy discussion on AEW’s inclusivity and more, and you can check out some highlights below:

Rose on signing with AEW: “I was comfortable in my skin at this point, and I thought it was important for the world to meet someone like myself. So I signed in a heartbeat.”

Kiss on Rose’s presence in AEW helping him decide sign on: “I felt like if Nyla wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be able to do it. And not that I couldn’t do it in the sense of ability, but it feels great to have someone else there who can understand me and just ride that ride with me.”

Bowens on seeing the inclusivity in AEW: “When AEW first started and I saw the product they were presenting, I immediately turned my attention to them and I knew that was where I wanted to be.”

Rose on AEW’s commitment to talent and inclusivity: “Everyone is there simply because they’re believed to be the best person for the job. They’re not there to tick off any check marks or anything. So the fact that it’s not even a thing, it means everything to people like us, because that’s what we want, we just want to be normal. We don’t want to check any boxes or be any affirmative action hires or anything like that. It feels good to be seen as a person first.”

Rose on thinking transitioning would end her wrestling career: “I literally expected it to be the end of my career. I was completely wrong about it, but that was my mindset. I went into it knowing for a fact, ‘I had fun, I did the wrestling thing, this is it, it’s over. I’m gonna put it out there, maybe somebody somewhere might want to hire me, who knows?’ But I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong and I was definitely wrong about that.”

Rose on some promotions refusing to book her at first: “One opportunity isn’t the whole world. Just because it was something that I wanted to do, little goals on my personal career checklist, didn’t mean it was the only thing out there. I had to say to myself, ‘It’s cool, Nyla. If they don’t want you, they don’t want you. But now I need to work harder to show them why they’re missing out.’ ”

Kiss on being genderfluid and staying authentic in his wrestling persona: “I knew going into this business, I was gonna either do it authentically or not at all. Authentically, what I mean by that is just straight up who I am, I wasn’t going to pretend. I wasn’t going to cater to the hypermasculine standards, I was going to just be me and if I couldn’t do that, I wasn’t going to do it at all.”

Bowens on hiding his sexuality early in his career: “As the picture became a lot clearer for myself. So did the fear that there was going to be some point where I’d have to say something. Would this affect my career? Would I be able to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish? If I did eventually come out, would people judge me? Would my co-workers accept me? Would they want to hurt me in the ring? There were so many different questions and stuff that ran through my head that gave me a ton of anxiety.”