May Feature: Fred Rosser
(a.k.a. “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young)
“Mr. No Days Off” hails from Union, New Jersey. In an interview on August 2013, Young discussed being gay, making him the first WWE wrestler to come out publicly while still signed with the company. Since his announcement, Young has been actively participating in various organizations such as GLAAD, NOH8, and AthleteAlly to take on a positive stance against discrimination toward the LGBT community. Young served as a motivational speaker for WWE’s anti-bullying campaign, Be a STAR, visiting schools nationwide and talking about the damaging effects of bullying and how we can reverse the trend. He has been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, People Magazine, and the Huffington Post for his courage to come out as the first ever gay WWE Superstar which led him to take part in last year’s Pride Parade in NY and LA. Fred Rosser now wrestles in the independent circuit around the world, while still serving as an advocate for the LGBT community.
Fred was recently named the Outshine Festival’s Celebrity Talent Vanguard Award Winner for OUTSshine Miami’s 2019 season. OUTshine’s Vanguard Award is given every season to celebrity talent who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and support of education, equality, and representation, for the LGBTQ communities. Previous Vanguard winners include actor Tommy Dorfman and director Travis Mathews. Previous Ally Award winners include Gloria & Emilio Estefan and James Franco. Already a formidable star in the ring, Rosser rose to further prominence by announcing on the celebrity news and gossip show TMZ that he was gay. The casual declaration sent waves through the sports, entertainment and LGBTQ communities. By doing so, Mr. Rosser made history by becoming the first openly gay “active” professional wrestler (in WWE).
“I want to be remembered as a good human being who was the first in an industry to pave the way for LGBTQ athletes in wrestling and beyond to come out and live an honest and authentic life,” Rosser said. “Being the first openly gay wrestler [in WWE], I’ve been able to encourage and inspire wrestling fans all over the world to chase their dreams. I’ve been able to show other LGBTQ athletes that they have a duty to instill confidence in the youth and to lead by example.”
Rosser, who has roots in Florida, and used to live in Miami Beach, also founded the #BlockTheHate movement, which seeks to inspire others to be comfortable in their own skin. Rosser is using social media campaigns, TV appearances, and educational speaking events to ensure that the rights of young LGBTQ people are secured for today and future generations.
The OUTshine LGBT Film Festival is a bi-annual film festival with a mission to inspire, entertain, and educate the public and encourage a sense of community through international and culturally diverse film, video and other media that offer historical and contemporary perspectives on the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. It’s created in part with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.