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Pro Wrestler Jake Atlas Wins 'Rookie of the Year,' Keeps Promise to Come Out

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Feb 9, 2018

Jake Atlas, a pro wrestler who snagged the title Rookie of the Year from SoCal Uncensored, took to Twitter to talk up the accomplishment -- and to make good on a promise to come out as gay.

"In July 2015 I made a bold statement to my trainer, Robbie Phoenix that I would win the Rookie of the Year award," Atlas' tweet began, with the wrestler continuing on to say, "the journey to achieving it is what I am most proud of."

After praising his trainers, Atlas made it clear he was now out and proud.

"Last, I am proud to fulfill my promise of coming out publicly about my sexuality to be a voice for those who struggle with this issue like I have for many, many years," Atlas tweeted, "to be a voice that reminds everyone in the same shoes that there is nothing you cannot achieve."

Atlas signed off with the vow, "This is only the beginning of many "firsts" left to come in my career."

In an interview with Steve Bryant that went up at Atlas talked about his comeback from a neck fracture that could easily have ended his career. Indeed, his doctor essentially said that his career was over, Atlas said, telling Bryant, "In that moment I felt like everything was taken." But after a six month period of recovery, Atlas battled his way back to the top.

As the interview continued, Bryant asked the athlete what his "biggest challenge" had been, and Atlas told him, "Being myself.... I think there's so many things, but I've learned especially these past few months as I've come to terms embracing myself in everything that I am, every aspect of myself."

Atlas noted that he draws on various experiences to fulfill his potential. "I was bullied as a kid, heavily," he told Bryant. "It was bad. So, I'm like, what did they do to me? I was a bully when I was a kid. I had both roles. How can I translate that here?"

That's when the interview turned to a promise Atlas had made Bryant.

"Going back to the Rookie of the Year award," Bryant said to the athlete, "so before it was announced that you were the winner, you had messaged me and said that if you win then you were going to come out publicly as gay."

Atlas talked at length about his coming out journey, noting at one point, "We have the Pride flag, the rainbow flag hung up in our dojo. I was like, we need representation of our people. We don't have that. I want that. I was so passionate. I came out and everyone was so supportive."

Atlas went on to add that people of any minority status need not stand in their own way. Messages that instill self-loathing can be put aside.

"You have to understand that there are people out there who still hold themselves back because of those insecurities," he told Bryant. "I want to be that voice to tell them, hey, who cares? Be you. Be successful."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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