I didn’t know Pat, I have never met him, I can honestly say he doesn’t cross my mind 99 percent of the time. That being said, it doesn’t mean he didn’t have an impact on my life. He is known as the First Gay Professional Wrestler, also the first Intercontinental champion (Which is still held and competed for in the WWE). He had already retired far before I started watching wrestling. I don’t believe I have ever seen a match of his. I have seen many people who have known him personally come out with heartfelt stories. He truly seems like a gentle soul.
When I was 17 or 18 I started to train in professional wrestling. I whos sexual orientation is also gay, was not out. I was scared to come out. I heard stories about people who were and didn’t last in pro wrestling. Looking back my sexual orientation was a big reason for me not moving forward in wrestling, but that’s another story altogether.
I was still training at the time, when I found out he was gay. I am not sure if he had just came out, or if it was just officially public, but I remember 98/99 there was talk about it. Him coming out made me a little more comfortable with my sexuality. Then, I didn’t know many gay people (if any), let alone someone who shared a love for wrestling.
I believe this is why it is important for celebraties to share their sexuality if they so wish to. It does help. For those hard times and fears of someone finding out, I always thought if Pat can still work in professional wrestling and be gay, maybe I have a spot too. Every so often I would think of Pat and his courage. Once in a blue moon when I saw him on TV I would always smile and my heart would fill with warmth.
Now that I have learned of his passing. My heart is a little bit darker knowing I will never see him on TV again. However I will never forget him, nor what he has done for me, and perhaps others. Some people will go their whole lives never knowing they had a positive influence on someone. I don’t know if there is life after death or what, but if I could tell him one thing, it would be two small words. Thank You.