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Anthony Bowens photography by Ricardo Muñiz for HUF Magazine

Anthony Bowens hopes to become the first openly-LGBTQ-identifying professional wrestler with the WWE. DNA Magazine featured Anthony in a sexy spread and six-page interview in its August 2017 issue. HUF Magazine is pleased to present an excerpt of that interview and an exclusive look at additional shots of Anthony practicing at the El Maestro Boxing Club and Cultural Center in the Bronx and relaxing at the residence of Share Chef Stephen Daniello and at the Belvedere Cottage for Men in the LGBTA resort community of Fire Island. Anthony identifies as bisexual. He is currently in a long-term relationship with Michael Pavano.

“I first came out to my best friend, Greg, whom I consider a brother, in 2010. It was one of the scarier things I’ve ever done, but I knew he was the right person to tell. He didn’t care at all and he was super supportive. Over the years, I slowly but surely let the rest of my core group of friends know, and, again, they all were very supportive. As I mentioned before, they were pivotal in helping getting me out of my shell, and they were just as important here, too. Whenever I was stressed about it, they always made me feel at ease. I couldn’t be any more grateful to have such great friends like them. So thank you to Greg, Will, Julian, Derek, Blasi, and Nicco.

Even though they and a small portion of my family knew, no one else did. Because of my wrestling career, I kept it very quiet. I didn’t have any idea if this would affect me negatively or not, so I thought it would be best to keep it within my group of friends. It wasn’t until January of 2017 that I decided it was time to let the world know. Plus, at that time, I had been dating my boyfriend for five months. I had been keeping it a secret, too, which was totally unfair to him. I set the date for January 8th, the night after one of my wrestling shows, so I didn’t have to be in front of an audience after making such a personal announcement. I also didn’t tell anyone I was planning to do this. I kept it entirely to myself because I didn’t want any outside influence telling me if it was a good idea or a bad one. The decision needed to be my own. My boyfriend and I were at a friend’s house for game night when I changed my Facebook status. Afterwards, I immediately shut off my phone because I was scared to see what people would write. After about 45 minutes, I told Mike to check his phone. I wanted to see the smile on his face when he saw that I also made the relationship public. He was shocked, but his face lit up with excitement. I finally turned on my phone to find hundreds of comments from friends and fans expressing their love and support. Everyone in the house cheered, and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that all that weight was finally off of my shoulders.

After the Huffington Post article was published. There was a ton of positivity, but there were small pockets of arguments about labels, most specifically bisexuality. The way I see it, you can’t tell someone how he or she feels or how people identify themselves. I’ve met plenty of people over the years that label themselves as bi but who have different interests. I know some that prefer guys more than girls, some prefer girls more than guys, and others who really don’t have a preference and are with both genders equally. It’s dependent on the person and in what s/he is interested. Personally, I think it’s a waste of time to sit and argue with others in the community about labels. We are ALL under the same umbrella of LGBTQ and we are ALL fighting for the same rights. There is still a lot of discrimination in the world against the community as a whole. Why make it worse for fellow members? We all need to stick together in this fight for equality.”

Credit
Photographer: Ricardo Muñiz
Model: Anthony Bowens @ BMG Model and Silver Models