He had everything, a dream job, nice houses and fame. Yet former World Championship Wrestling wrestler Chris Kanyon said he was still not happy, in fact he was battling depression.
He was not ready to tell the world he was gay.
“Before that I felt like it was easier to stay in the closet,” Kanyon said to a group of Northern Kentucky University students in Eva G. Farris auditorium during Coming out day Oct 11. “I lived in constant paranoia that I would be outed. I didn’t want to lose my job.”
Kanyon, whose real name is Chris Klusartis, started wrestling in 1992 once he graduated from the University of New York at Buffalo with a physical therapy degree.
Some of his titles in WCW include winning tag team championships with Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigalow, as well as the heavyweight championship. Kanyon also coordinated the stunts on the movie “Ready to Rumble,” starring David Arquette, Rose Mcgowan, and Caroline Rhea.
Kanyon later fell into a deep depression. However, a failed suicide attempt made him realize that he needed to change his life around – by coming out not only to his family but also to the world.
Kanyon recalled during his speech when Vince McMahon outed him in February 2002. He made Kanyon dress up like Boy George, hide in a wooden closet and come out singing “like a faggot” and ultimately got a brutal beating from his opponent, The Undertaker.
“I was pretty much gay bashed by McMan,” Kanyon said. Although, he feels as though McMan would not have asked him to do it if he had already told the world he was gay.
Kanyon came out first to his brother. However, it was not the right time in his life. “I was not ready at that time in my life mentally and physically.”
What helped out Kanyon the most in his process was using the local resources such as pamphlets, clinics and counselors.
When he later came out to his parents, he said it went really well. However, for some people it does not go as well.
Statistics from the November issue of American Psychologist show 42 percent of homeless youth are gay or lesbian, and 25 percent of gay and lesbian youth have said their families rejected them for coming out.
“The number of families that reject them would go down if people would use more resources,” Kanyon said. “We can create a more positive cycle. As more and more people come out, the more society accepts us.”
For people who are having a hard time trying to find the right time to come out to their peers, Kanyon offers these words of wisdom:
“Coming out is not about a day on the calendar. People should come out when they are ready. ‘Coming out day’ brings awareness that coming out is not so easy.”