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Gay Wrestler Wrestles With Coming Out


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Gay Wrestler Wrestles With Coming Out

by The Associated Press

October 15, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(Highland Heights , Kentucky) A 10-year-old Chris Klucsarits dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler.

But he would have to practice more than holds and punches. He would have to become practiced at hiding a secret: he was gay.

He began his double life while a kid in Queens, N.Y., and would eventually take the last name Kanyon to achieve his dreams by becoming a star of World Wrestling Entertainment.

He struggled to keep the secret. Who, he wondered, would want to employ a gay wrestler?

If he told his fans and bosses, surely they would let him go. Which, he said, is what happened. Kanyon related his story to about 200 Northern Kentucky University students as part of National Coming Out Day on Wednesday, in which groups across the country garner support for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. Sponsored by Common Ground, the school’s Gay/Straight Alliance, speakers were featured throughout the day, including those from the Human Rights Campaign, Kentucky Equality and the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati.

“You’re afraid to come out of the closet,” said Kanyon, 36.

“I didn’t even realize how much of a relief it would be,” he said. “I thought, ‘I will get rid of the fear, I will get rid of the paranoia,’ just by taking that one step coming out.”

Still, it took years and a suicide attempt to bring him to it. Kanyon tried to overdose on sleeping pills but didn’t take enough.

“I thought, ‘What the hell have you done to yourself?”’ he said.

When rumors of his homosexuality spread through the industry, Kanyon was convinced his bosses knew his secret.

Shortly thereafter in 2004, he retired from the WWE.

“I am convinced I fell out of favor because they knew I was gay,” he said.

He needed to admit it. First, he told his brother. Then he told his parents. Earlier this year, in an independent wrestling match in Ontario, Canada, Kanyon admitted it to the wrestling community.

“I’ve never been happier,” he told the crowd.

The NKU campus has been divided over gay rights since August, when threatening messages were found on the door of Kentucky Hall resident assistant Jeremy Phillippi, a student who has said he is gay.

Phillippi filed a complaint with the Florence-based Kentucky Equality Federation.

“That was a big part of why I wanted to be here,” Kanyon said. “We need to educate people.”

The university has since committed funds to groups like Common Ground to help spread awareness, said 21-year-old Katie Nelson, Common Ground co-president.

The university also has pledged to fund “Safe Zone” training for faculty, staff and student leaders so they can learn how to help students struggling with their sexuality.

©365Gay.com 2006


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