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The Road To NYWC: A Matter of Pride, A Look at Tommy Purr

TommyPurr

As we get closer to the NYWC event “A Matter of Pride” we will be taking a look at the competitors taking part in the event. We have a statement from The Sin City Kitty himself, Tommy Purr. In this statement Tommy talks about his road to “A Matter of Pride”

“I was never supposed to be in the wrestling business this long.

Seriously.

In the winter of 2011, I was a non-paid stage actor honing my craft in a makeshift theater that was nestled between a bar that catered to trans sex-workers, two gay bathhouses, and some questionable Asian restaurants. A fellow actor friend of mine named Gabriel Gentile informed me of a wrestling school he was joining so he could train to be a manager. He later became known as G.G. Severe and informed me that I should give the school a try due to my gift of gab, theater experience, as well as my love for Pro Wrestling.

I entertained the idea of being the next “Sensational” Sherri Martel (my favorite ringside manager) for all of an hour before I embraced reality and came to the realization that I would probably attend two classes and then get bored. It didn’t bother me any as I paid a flat one-month fee. Alas, manager training was a bust as a majority of the boys and girls had very little interest in working on their microphone skills… which translated into the trainers really not caring about the classes and sometimes not even showing up.

Since I had paid and made the two-hour trek to the facility from my side of town (the public transit system in Las Vegas is a nightmare) each time promo class was canceled, I decided that I may as well learn a thing or two in the ring. That was also the same day that I took my first arm drag and nearly popped my lungs on the bump. To this day, I cringe whenever I have to take the maneuver, flashing back to that unforgettable first time.

Despite what I dramatically refer to as my “near-death experience”, I kept coming back for more and my trainers, Michael Modest and Sinn Bodhi (former WWE Superstar Kizarny), saw something inside of me and encouraged me repeatedly, and on their own private time, to focus on becoming a wrestler rather than a manager.

The more encouragement I received, the more serious I became about following their advice.

When I returned to doing theater, I had been trying desperately to use my love for the stage as a way to build up my confidence again. For most of my early twenties, I had been deeply entrenched in the LGBT community of Vegas as a group facilitator for the LGBT Center of Southern Nevada. I won numerous awards and had a plethora of accolades. Unfortunately, I was advised by influential people in my circle that I was merely “the face of Oz” while they were “the men behind the curtain”. When I had an opinion that conflicted with theirs, received too much attention, defied their unwritten rules, or if it was simply a Tuesday and they woke up on the wrong side of no one, they made it a point to make my life a living hell.

Any sense of “pride” I had in myself was torn from me like Cinderella’s gown at the hands of her ugly stepsisters. In the end, I allowed them to treat me that way. I allowed them to phase me out. I allowed them to treat me like dirt because, on some level, I felt like I deserved it. On an entirely different level, I felt like Lindsay Lohan in “Mean Girls”: to me, it was better to be in The Plastics, hating life, than not be in the clique at all. I learned that the people that I thought had my back never had my best interests at heart and once they could no longer benefit from my status they vanished and I was left with beautiful awards, few friends, and no self-esteem (and one eyebrow, but that’s an entirely different story).

While I will always love the theater, the problem was no one took me serious or they thought I wasn’t deep simply because I wasn’t bohemian or a person constantly going through some sort of existential crisis and sparking philosophical debates about feelings, aliens, and bran muffins (seriously, I could never understand what the fuck was being discussed half the time). However, when I started wrestling, I could feel small parts of my spirit being reclaimed and pieced back together.

I was very fortunate coming up in this business, as no one had issues with me based on my sexual orientation (and if they did, they did a tremendous job of remaining professional). Since I originally had no intention of sticking around longer than two training sessions, I had made it abundantly clear that I was not going to allow people to treat me as “less than”. If you don’t like me, cool with me… I probably don’t like you either. In wrestling, I was able to embrace my pent-up aggression and I was able to let it out, to channel the spirit of who Tommy Purr really was… a silver-tongued bombshell with equally sharp claws to match. It became my therapy. After six long years, I finally replaced the pride that my “previous life” had ripped from me, and I will never allow that to happen again.

Last year, WWE claimed that they started the Divas’ Revolution. But in reality, A MATTER OF PRIDE is the REAL Divas’ Revolution. On this night, you’ll see the pageantry that only we queers can bring to the table. On this night, it’s not about twerking or building up to a gay kiss spot in order to POP the fans. On this night, it’s going to be about proving to the world, to the “good ole boys’ club”, and to ourselves and each other that we don’t need to rely on our sexuality to get the job done in the ring and that we’re not gay wrestlers… we are wrestlers who happen to be gay.

There are so many words to describe the people involved in this tournament… strong, beautiful, powerful, athletic, charismatic, hysterical, memorable, talented, eccentric, and intelligent.

I’m proud to be sharing the ring with my brothers and “sisters” – if only for one night – and proud to be part of a group that’s leading by example and demonstrating how a REAL community should act. Rest assured, after we beat each other down, we’ll be lifting each other back up again out of respect and admiration.

But, be forewarned East Coasters, on September 18th… what happens in Vegas, is going to happen in New York”

Tommy Purr

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