It was a matter-of-fact coming out during a reality TV show that found Sonya Deville, real name Daria Berenato, as World Wrestling Entertainment's first openly lesbian wrestler. Now Deville and a group of other women will be making history again when she competes in the first ever WrestleMania women's' battle royal, being streamed ahead of the main event during this Sunday's broadcast.
During a 2015 episode of the WWE's series Tough Enough, Deville was asked by judges if she was in a relationship. "I don't have a wife yet, but I have a girlfriend she responded." Though she didn't last long on the show, Deville was still offered a contract with the organization and has since been on the receiving end of thanks and stories from LGBTQ wrestling fans. "If I can be a voice for people who might be intimidated by coming out... they see my doing it in front of pretty big people in the WWE world, hopefully it will give them the courage to do it," she said to Philadelphia's 6ABC News.
Now Deville, 24 and a former MMA fighter, has become a mainstay in WWE programming, appearing on popular broadcasts like Monday Night Raw and becoming part of the all-female wrestling group Absolution. Whether she wins the battle royal this weekend or not, Deville continues to spread LGBTQ inclusion to an oft secluded corner of entertainment.
\u201cIt still hasn\u2019t hit me that Sunday I will be wrestling at #WrestleMania ......\u201d