Back in September 2016, professional wrestler Anthony Bowens recorded a goofy “challenge” video for YouTube with his boyfriend Michael Pavano.
In it, the couple attempt not to laugh as they watch funny videos while holding a mouthful of water, trying not to spit it out. They’re adorable together and it’s difficult not to laugh along with them.
While their antics racked up nearly 200,000 views, the most significant part of the video came when personal trainer Michael introduced Anthony as his boyfriend.
It was the first public acknowledgement of their relationship, and the first time Anthony had admitted publically that he was attracted to men.
As the 27-year-old admits in Attitude's Body Issue, however, it was a moment that almost never happened when he had second thoughts about sharing the video with the world.
Anthony Bowens, shot by Greg Vaughn for Attitude's Body Issue
"I kinda tensed up because I was like: ‘oh, no one knows yet’," he recalls. "And I said to Michael: 'I don’t think you can put that up'.
Anthony, who now stands as one of the rare few openly bisexual men in the world of wrestling, goes on: "Michael wasn't agry, but I could see that he was disappointed and that broke my heart."
After deciding to bit the bullet, Anthony soon found himself receiving a message about the video from a friend and fellow wrestler, whose only concern was that he hadn't been told sooner.
The response gave Anthony the courage to go one step farther and tell everyone else in one fell swoop.
“I thought, ‘I’m well-liked, I’m respected, no one cares about my sexuality; that doesn’t affect them. I’m still their friend. I’m still their colleague. I think it’s time’,” he says.