Ever since making his debut back in 2016, Jesse Santana has been rising up the ranks at an incredible rate following his debut out of the Premier British Wrestling (PBW) Academy. Although his home training facility is now at Source Wrestling, one thing that has remained the same throughout his career is that he’s here to make wrestling sassy again. Whether he was battling “The Gazelle” Grant McIvor in the opening round of the 2018 Drew Galloway Invitational Tournament, appearing on YouTube series Kings Road Warriors under the guidance of current Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) Tag Team Champion Lewis Girvan as a #SeriousWrestler, or teaming with newfound best friend “The Tactician” Taylor Vite in a team known as The Beauty & The Brains, Jesse always found a way to give the audience something to remember.
As we wind down to the end of Pride Month 2019, where we celebrate those who come under the LGBTQ+ banner, we at Last Word on Pro Wrestling reached out to Jesse to ask him a few questions regarding his views as an openly gay professional wrestler in the modern era.
Last Word on Pro Wrestling: When was it you decided to come out, and was there any reason you decided that then was the right time?
Jesse Santana: Being completely honest, there was no wrong or right time for me to openly be like “hey guys, I’m gay” because I didn’t find it necessary to do so. Till this day I have no reason to tell people I’m gay unless they ask the question or if they’re a female trying to hit on me, at least buy me a drink first. Gay to me is just my sexual preference. If I like the same sex, it doesn’t define who I am is a person. The way I see it is being gay is another priority, but number one is I’m still a human being just like everybody else so there’s no reason to differ.
LWOS: Since coming out, have you experienced any difficulties within your career relating to that?
Jesse: I didn’t start off as an openly gay wrestler. I was hiding in the closet, behind like 10 stacks of clothes and a hundred pairs of shoes. When I was younger and just starting off wrestling, I think it was pretty clear to people I was, but I would still be on the defensive about it because I felt like I would have been looked at differently, but once the closet opened up and I kicked and split my way out I think I could just be myself with people which definitely gave me some of the best friends I have till this day. One of the biggest things I can remember was if like my girl pals from school or Ashley Vega for example would be like “aw, so do you fancy this boy?” I’d be like “no, what you talking about? I’m not gay. I just care for them a lot”, realising that I was full of crap. I quite clearly knew I liked this boy, but again trying to put the wall up for defence. Till this day in wrestling you sadly do still get homophobic fans, possibly even promoters or wrestlers themselves. I’ve personally experienced some homophobic fans, but jokes on them because I saw them clapping for me after they realised I wasn’t just a fairy. I’m a fairy who can kick ass in a ring. Apart from that, wrestling so far has been very accepting to me and I really hope being gay doesn’t make people look at me any different.
LWOS: Do you feel as if today’s society are more accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals in wrestling, especially with the inclusiveness shown from the likes of Finn Balor and Sonya Deville?
Jesse: I think in wrestling today, the level of the LGBTQ+ community is just increasing. You have the likes of myself in the UK scene, you have Sonny Kiss in AEW, you’ve got Sonya Deville in WWE. We’re all representing within the community, but again we all still have very different styles of wrestling. I do strongly feel it is becoming more accepting, but your always going to have harsh critics. Maybe not homophobic, maybe they’re just not a fan of you as a wrestler. Generally the only thing I have to say is if you’re a wrestler, promoter, announcer, referee, wrestling fan, anybody within the wrestling business and you dislike or judge someone because of their sexuality, you really need to check yourself. Being gay will never take away our talent.
LWOS: What advice would you give to any LGBTQ+ wrestlers who may be scared about being out within the industry?
Jesse: To anyone who is within the wrestling industry or who is wanting to become a part, whether you’re gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual, etc. never feel like you can’t be yourself, no matter what predicament you are in. Have fun with it and let loose. Be as flamboyant as you can be or just straight up manhandle someone in that ring. Remember your sexuality is second, you as a human comes first. To anybody out there who is maybe scared to tell anybody what sexuality they are, you are your own person so by all means, you make the decisions. You do it when the time is right and when you are ready. If you feel like that’s never the case or want help etc. then reach out to someone like myself who is an openly gay wrestler and is working his way to the top of the ladder just like everyone else.
If you’ve ever seen him wrestle, you’ll know that Jesse Santana is never one to back away from expressing himself in any way possible, something that wasn’t exactly the case before he came out. To round off our chat, Jesse had the following message to say:
“For the homophobes out there within our industry – I’m gay and I’m wrestling men half naked. So you lose and I win. For the LGBTQ+ community within the wrestling industry – let’s kick ass in this business. For anyone who is scared of being themselves due to their sexuality – just look around and realise you’re not alone. Don’t make stupid choices, gather that strong person that you are and make wrestling your bitch! Lastly, I’d like to give a shoutout to Rosie Nyte. She is a female wrestler who faced a lot of these problems, but is now an openly gay wrestler. And Taylor Vite – I love you! Thanks guys, gals and gays.”
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.