Professional wrestler Mike Parrow opened up on Good Morning Britain today (January 19) for the first time since coming out.
The star told the ITV show that his journey hasn’t been easy since coming out.
“First, I was Catholic, so I went to Catholic school my whole life,” he explained.
“My mum was very Catholic, and there was never any talk or anything about being gay. It was just never brought up.
“In my hometown, we didn’t really have anybody that was gay. And everything that I saw on TV was nowhere close to who I was. So I did not want to be gay because everything that was represented was nowhere close to being me. So I kind of withheld that and I buried it.”
The lack of gay role models for athletes resulted in Mike feeling incredibly alone and although some have started to come out now, it’s still not until after they retire.
“As a kid, I had no role models whatsoever to look up to,” he continued.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way that there are other people like me. I am all by myself.’ When I first started to come out, I had really negative experiences. There was a lot of rejection because I thought, ‘Oh, guys are going to love me’ – no, they did not love me whatsoever!
“First of all I had no idea how to talk to them because I had no idea about the community. The people that I was going after were going after me for a look rather than who I was.
He continued: “I never understood that because it’s not usually like that in the heterosexual world – you know, you meet people at bars, you talk to them and are like let’s go on a first date. Well, in the gay world it’s not like that all the time. But I did not know that. So I had a lot of rejection at first, so I was like, ‘I don’t want to be gay.'”
On now: We’re talking to Mike Parrow, a professional wrestler who was struggling with his sexuality so much that he even tried gay conversion therapy pic.twitter.com/QR1AQzi4E4
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 19, 2018
The negative reaction became so tough, that Parrow turned to gay conversion therapy in a bid to become straight and find acceptance.
“It was the first time I heard people had the same feelings that I did,” he continued. “Being there, I realised I am gay and that is not going to change.
“One of [the therapy’s] premises is that it’s a choice – it’s not a choice. You’re born this way. So right there, that’s a flawed philosophy. I’m not a doctor and I can’t prove that but I can tell you why I know [gay conversion therapy does not work].”
As his career in wrestling began to take off, Mike was suprised when his collegues encouraged him to come out publicly as gay.
“There’s no role models for athletes because athletes tend to come out after they retire because of fear maybe of rejection, fear of different pay, fear of people just not accepting them for who they are,” he added.
“I’ve had the opposite. My career got better since I’ve come out because I know who I am.”
Mike is now hoping that he’ll be signed up by WWE, and admitted his biggest dream is to step in the ring at WrestleMania.
Good Morning Britain airs on ITV weekdays from 6am.