Anthony Bowens had an inspirational message for fans on social media after his historic wrestling win.
Bowens, who came out in 2017, became the first out gay champion in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) history on September 21 when he and wrestling partner Max Caster won the AEW World Tag Team championships.
With a gradual increase over the last few years of wrestlers coming out, or already out LGBTQ+ wrestlers rising in visibility, having an out AEW champion no longer felt like an impossibility, but it’s still an incredible accomplishment for Bowens to make it a reality.
Understanding what an important moment this was both for himself personally and for progress in wrestling, Bowens had a message to any fans who might be struggling with their own identities.
“I never thought that I would be able to live my dream because there was a time when I was very confused. And I didn’t know how to accept myself,” he admitted. “But I fought through that shit. I fought through all that shit. And now I cry because I’m a champion.”
Getting even more to the point, he addressed anyone “who feels like me,” saying, “It doesn’t even have to be about your sexuality. It could be you’re depressed, you’re bullied in life, or life just sucks, just know that everything gets better. We love you. I love you.”
This article originally appeared on Pride.com, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and EqualPride.