As WWE’s first openly gay female wrestler, Sonya Deville is an influential figure for many.
She joined the company back in 2015 as part of NXT, before being drafted onto the main roster two years later.
During her WWE wrestling career, Deville featured in the first women’s Elimination Chamber match and the first ever all women’s pay-per-view, Evolution.
After a short career inside the ring, Deville took a hiatus before taking on an official role, where she operated as Adam Pearce’s assistant on SmackDown.
Since then, she has branched away from her on-screen partnership with Pearce and become more of a dominant individual figure.
Her recent feuds with Naomi and partnership with Charlotte Flair saw her involved in some scraps and even make an in-ring return at the Royal Rumble. She also partnered with Charlotte at Elimination Chamber, where she lost to Ronda Rousey and Naomi.
Whether she is operating as a wrestler or as an official, Deville is often in the limelight and she is using her status as a way to pitch ideas on how to include more LGBTQ+ wrestlers.
In a recent interview with WKBN, Deville discussed how the company could introduce queer stars in a subtle and organic manner. She suggested the idea of utilising backstage segments to introduce openly LGBTQ+ Superstars to the fans.
“Just as you would have a male Superstar on the phone with their wife in a backstage segment or interacting with another female, you just have two females or two males interacting.
“You know, or maybe I’m on the phone with my girlfriend while you’re filming backstage, something like that, that just allows the inclusivity to be there and not in a forced inorganic way, kind of just how it is in life.”
As the first openly gay female WWE wrestler, Deville made it her duty to carry the torch for those who aren’t already being represented. She admitted WWE has helped her be a voice for those who often do not have one, but she is not content with just standing still.
Deville wants to move forward and increase LGBTQ+ visibility.
“I mean, it’s not something that I ever think about like that, right? It’s always just like, ‘Yeah, I am who I am, and I’m a WWE Superstar,'” she explained.
“But obviously, I realise the effect and influence it has on other members of the LGBTQ+ community, and I love being a part of that. That change in that kind of power that I can give to them, like, ‘Hey, if I can do it, you can do it. And if I can be myself unapologetically, so can you.’
“And you should never be ashamed or afraid of who you are or who you love. You should simply just be.”