It’s Pride! Throughout June, HollywoodLife is running The Sound Of Pride, a month-long feature where members of the LGBTQ+ community pick songs that should be on your Pride 2022 playlist. For today’s installment, independent wrestling legend Mercedes Martinez joins in to drop some classic tracks about “embracing your true self,” a message that holds a special place in her heart.
As a twenty-year veteran of an industry that hasn’t always been kind to women or to openly LGBTQ+ members, Mercedes’s name commands respect; respect that she fought long and hard for. With stints in promotions like Shimmer Women Athletes, World Wrestling Entertainment, Ring of Honor, and Impact Wrestling. Currently part of All Elite Wrestling (and the ROH Women’s champ), Mercedes has worked to ensure that women and LGBTQ+ wrestlers are treated equally as their cishet counterparts. And while there’s still plenty of work to be done, Mercedes’ efforts mean she will be considered a pioneer, a leader, and an icon when it’s all said and done.
She told Out Sports in 2021 that she had to hide her queer self at the start of her career because “my life could be in danger.” Now, she’s making up for the lost time. “Be proud of who you are, you’re true, authentic self,” Mercedes tells HollywoodLife when asked if she had a Pride message she wanted to share. “You are VALID, and there is always a place for you. Self-love is self-acceptance. The world will embrace you, and the community will always be here to support, help, and love you in your journey.”
To help those on their journey, Mercedes has picked a trio (and a bonus track!) for The Sound of Pride.
Be sure to catch the stars of AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling at Forbidden Door, taking place on June 26 from the United Center in Chicago. The AEW x NJPW event will be broadcast live on PPV at 8 pm ET and streamed online through FiteTV. Don’t miss the exciting action.
Lady Gaga, “Born This Way”
Mercedes: Don’t hide yourself. BE your true self on what you feel inside regardless of what people see on the outside. We are all born a certain way inside in our hearts, mind, and soul, not just the gender. Gender doesn’t make us who we are meant to be. We are born this way to be our true selves.
Abba, “Dancing Queen”
It was the gay anthem in all the drag clubs I went to in NYC. Makes you get up off your seat to see the drags become the Queens that they are.
George Michael, “Freedom! ’90”
It’s about embracing your true self. Everyone struggles with personal identity, but coming to learn who you are and what you love is what this song is all about.
Honorable Mention: Cyndi Lauper, “True Colors”
Simple and straightforward forward. Always show your true colors. Show your authentic self. It’s an inspiring anthem in the community, and even though it’s not upbeat, it’s the words that matter in this song.
HollywoodLife: As we’ve been asking all month: what is the overall vibe or attitude of Pride 2022?
The community is coming together as a whole. PRIDE VIBE is just that. Where the community is there for support, healing, and love in times of uncertainty. In 2022, we are all leaning on each other and helping each other in many ways. PRIDE VIBE is continuously uplifting everyone to be their true authentic self and embrace each other for the differences we in the community bring.
Pride Month is a time to give love to unsung heroes, so who would you like to get mainstream recognition?
I like to see LGTBQ+ athletes get more mainstream recognition, not just for PRDIE month, but all the time, year-round. I think we all need to see these athletes, whether they are pros, amateurs, in high school, etc…they each have a story and faced adversity that many in our community have and will face. These athletes are role models for many and prove that being your true authentic self is the only way to be.
We are fighting a bigger fight, and to be in the mainstream [we must be] uplifting to all that are fighting the same fight.
What are your plans for Pride 2022?
My plans are the same every year: to keep pushing the agenda that PRIDE is all year long, not just a month.