On National Coming Out Day, WWE’s first openly gay female wrestler remembers her own experience…which happened on TV.
Sonya Deville has described the unplanned moment she became the first openly gay female wrestler.
"I was freaking out!" she recalled. "After, I went upstairs in the performance center and I called my girlfriend and was like ‘Hey, hope you don’t mind’ — because she wasn’t out to her family yet…I hope your mom doesn’t watch the show, I just came out, I’m so sorry.’"
"I was apologizing to her, and she was like ‘No, babe, it’s fine" and I was like ‘Okay!’ And then I called my mom, and I was like ‘Mom, I just came out on television’ — already knew I was gay but nobody else did — she was like, ‘It’s okay, honey!’ and I was like literally freaking out."
The seminal moment happened four years ago, in the middle of the ring, during the first episode of "WWE Tough Enough".
"The first question Triple H asked me was ‘Are you in a relationship?’ which would’ve been the easiest question to get from any other cast member… but he asked it to me."
Sonya — whose real name is Daria Berenato — insists Triple H was completely clueless at the time.
"I genuinely don’t think he knew. It was like a blessing in disguise, though," she said. "I was like ‘Yeah, I have a girlfriend,’ and Triple H was laughing, and he was like, ‘You just came out on national television, do you know that?’ and I was like ‘Yup, now I do! I’m gonna go throw up really quick!’"
"And then, obviously, as time went on, it wasn’t a shock anymore," she continued. "It was like wait — why would I hide who I am? Why was I afraid in the first place?"
"And now, four years later, I’m not only comfortable with my sexuality, I feel like I can be a voice for those people who are like me."
"I want to share my story so that people can feel comfortable to share their story and they feel more comfortable to come out," she said. "But I don’t wanna make it such a thing that it’s ‘a thing’. It doesn’t define me, it doesn’t define my wrestling. I have my own wrestling style and accomplishments aside from me coming out in the WWE."
"I think the more normal you make it, the more normal it becomes," she concluded. "The more of a big deal you make it, the bigger of a deal it becomes."
Sonya confirmed she is seeing someone — Arianna Johnson — and the couple go through plenty of ups and downs on this season of "Total Divas".
Sonya joined Ronda Rousey as the newest main cast members for season 9, which airs on E! on Tuesday nights.
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