WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans last weekend was a big moment for inclusion in pro wrestling: Rising star Finn Bálor burst onto the Superdome stage flanked by LGBT fans wearing his custom rainbow “Bálor Club For Everyone” t-shirts.
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) April 8, 2018
You are one awesome human being Finn. As a proud lifelong WWE fan who identifies as gay. That entrance was a Mania moment ill treasure for a long time. Thank you. So much love. ❤
— Darryl Griffiths (@LegallyBOD) April 9, 2018
Bálor’s been a vocal ally and made it clear he welcomes gay fans—and doesn’t mind a little attention. (A portion of proceeds from the tees benefit GLAAD.)
But Saturday’s event was major for another, equally important reason: It was the WrestleMania debut of Sonya Deville, WWE’s first openly lesbian wrestler.
The 24-year-old Deville, whose real name is Daria Berenato, is a former MMA fighter. She revealed on the WWE reality competition Tough Enough, that she’s not married, “but I have a girlfriend.”
Part of the Raw lineup, she’s one-third of the girl squad Absolution, alongside Mandy Rose and Paige. She didn’t win Tough Enough but WWE management saw something special and offered her a contract.
For her big debut, Deville wore a two-piece tie-dye rainbow getup
— Lucian L. Jones (@SultanofSwagga) April 8, 2018
— Sonya Deville (@SonyaDevilleWWE) April 8, 2018
If the response on social media is any indication, the crowd ate it up.
— Cloak and Meeple (@CloakAndMeeple) April 8, 2018
— Cat (@Catarina_CN) April 8, 2018
— Bobby Hensley (@BOBBYH1295) April 8, 2018
Deville told Wrestling Inc. last month that she puts a lot of pressure on herself to be a role model. “I want to send out the right message and I want to talk about it properly.”
— Sonya Deville (@SonyaDevilleWWE) April 7, 2018
She later told 6ABC News, “If I can be a voice for people who might be intimidated by coming out, and they see my doing it in front of pretty big people in the WWE world, hopefully it will give them the courage to do it.”