Say hello to Mike Parrow.
The 34-year-old pro wrestler from Orlando just made a big reveal: He’s gay! All 6’4 and 300-pounds of him.
“I’ve always known I’m gay,” Parrow tells Gay Star News in an exclusive new interview. “That was never a question in my mind.”
He continues: "Growing up, I went to Catholic school my whole life. My mom’s a Sunday school teacher. I came from a small town in upstate New York. It didn’t have a flourishing gay community. The only exposure I saw of any gay culture was extremely effeminate and that was what was on TV. I’m not like Jack on Will and Grace, so I’m not gay."
Parrow, who can deadlift 700 pounds, bench over 545 pounds and run 40-yards in 4.9 seconds, says he kept his sexuality hidden for years, instead focusing on “manly stuff” to keep himself distracted and others from becoming suspicious.
“I played football and did manly stuff. It wasn’t because I was gay. Those were the things I gravitate to – competitive stuff.”
He also tried dating women. At first this worked, but over time, he realized the relationships simply weren’t satisfying for him and weren’t fair for his partners.
In the beginning, when you’re younger, it’s easy – you’re young. But the older I got, the harder it got for me to have any kind of emotional relationship with a woman. I would find ways to end it. I’d be like, “Listen, I just don’t think you’re pretty.” And I was kind of mean to some women. It’s wrong. And I wish sometimes I could have that back.
It wasn’t until he was in his late 20s that he started exploring his sexuality. Unfortunately, his first experiences dating men didn’t go so well.
Gay men can be the meanest, cruelest people you’ve ever met in your life. I was “fat”, I was “ugly”, I’m a “closet case”, and at the time I was just looking to understand what’s going on. And so that put me further back in the closet than going forward. So I buried myself in wrestling and focused on my career. And I had some success, but that was always in the back of my mind.
Parrow says eventually he sunk into a deep depression. He felt like a liar and a fraud for keeping his true identity a secret. He began drinking heavily and having thoughts of suicide. He even tried conversion therapy.
“It was an absolute joke,” he recalls.
It wasn’t until he began seeing an actual therapist and working on accepting himself that things got better. Then he met his fiancee, Morgan. And Morgan helped him find the courage to come out to his family and wrestling colleagues.
“Anyone I ever told thought I was kidding,” he says. “Their perception of gay men was totally different. So when I tell them, they get shocked, but every time I tell someone it gets easier rather than harder, and I always try to tell people that.”