Out in the Ring – Inside Out 2022

Out in the Ring

Out in the Ring – Inside Out 2022

OUT IN THE RING looks at the lives of LGBTQ professional wrestlers past and present, and the history of LGBTQ representation in professional wrestling, told through a combination of archival footage and interviews with out performers, wrestling journalists and historians, friends and allies.

Full Disclosure: I'm friends with director Ry Levey and contributed to this film's crowdfunding campaign

The history of LGBTQIA+ representation in pro wrestling is explored in . It can be argued that there has always been a homoerotic element to the world of professional wrestling. However, queer representation in sports entertainment has often been limited to stereotypes such as “Adorable” Adrian Adonis or the predatory behaviour of Goldust. However, today there are more active LGBTQIA+ pro wrestlers than ever before, including Charlie Morgan, Mike Parrow, Effy, AC Mack, Billy Dixon, Sonny Kiss, Dani Jordyn, Pollo Del Mar, and The Dark Sheik. Together, they talk about their experiences and how they are represented in the world of professional wrestling.

Out in the Ring is a documentary by Ry Levey that talks about the history of queer representation in professional wrestling while also talking to active wrestlers who are openly LGBTQIA+. With the help of an interview with SlamWrestling‘s Greg Oliver and other wrestling historians, the film talks about historic wrestlers, such as Gorgeous George in the 1950s and Pat Patterson in the 1970s, the latter of whose homosexuality was an open secret before officially coming out in 2014. The film then talks about current LGBTQIA+ wrestlers and their struggles with being honest about their sexual orientation in a typically homophobic industry.

One thing made apparent in Out in the Ring is how poorly WWE, in particular, treated LGBTQIA+ wrestlers, whether it was publicly outing Chris Kanyon in an embarrassing TV segment or acknowledging Darren Young as gay, more as a PR tactic. Today LGBTQIA+ wrestlers thrive more in the indies or in WWE's main competitor AEW, where Sonny Kiss was one of the first signees, and Nyla Rose became the first trans woman to win a significant wrestling championship. While the documentary does not ignore the negative, Out in the Ring is ultimately a positive and inspirational look into queer representation in professional wrestling.

Trailer for Out in the Ring – Inside Out 2022

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.