NOTE: Content warning for homophobic language
UPDATE Sept. 4: Longtime pro wrestler New Jack, real name Jerome Young, made his first public response to comments from his child, drag queen Washington Heights, Thursday evening in a Facebook Live broadcast.
While promoting an upcoming virtual meet-and-greet, Young continued to claim Heights isn’t his child with hateful and homophobic language.
“There’s a lot of shit going on right now that’s got my name on it. I can’t really go into detail about it but it’s some real fucked up shit. I would just like to say to you little faggot motherfucker: you know who you are and you’re not my son, you little bitch.”
Heights told Outsports that Young has not contacted her privately regarding her comments.
ORIGINAL STORY: The common refrain “wrestling is drag” has emerged alongside the rising profile of LGBTQ identities within pro wrestling. That comparison saw another chapter written Monday thanks to award-winning Baltimore drag performer and newly christened Wikipedia editor Washington Heights.
Heights placed her name on the collective tongue of the wrestling world Monday when she publicly revealed that former ECW tag team champion, deathmatch wrestling legend and one of the industry’s more polarizing and problematic figures New Jack, real name Jerome Young, is her father and that he cut off contact with her three years ago. She used her father’s Wikipedia page to do so, adding a passage about herself and releasing a screenshot of it on social media before it was deleted.
“My dad (New Jack from ECW) cut me out of his life three years ago because he didn’t want his fans to know I’m a drag queen, and he didn’t want Wikipedia posting anything about me,” Heights said. The post circulated quickly within pro wrestling circles, with numerous LGBTQ wrestlers and wrestling fans offering support for someone experiencing a sense of otherness all too familiar to LGBTQ populations.
“Was I petty with posting this and changing his Wikipedia? Yes. Could I have handled it better? Possibly,” Heights tweeted. “The world is already against me being gay. I just want someone who created me to embrace what I do and support me. End of story.”
My dad (New Jack from ECW) cut me out of his life 3 years ago because he didn’t want his fans to know I’m a drag queen, and he didn’t want Wikipedia posting anything about me.
Clearly he doesn’t know how Wikipedia works. Anywho, I’m now an official editor for Wikipedia. pic.twitter.com/iAaMk2svVN
— Washington Heights (@washyheights) August 31, 2020
On the Outsports podcast, LGBT In The Ring, Heights revealed that the catalyst for her action was a Facebook Memories post that harkened back to her complicated relationship with Young. The old post depicted Young professing love for his child, but current circumstances altered that message’s meaning in Heights’ eyes. “I shared it on Facebook and said ‘How funny is this? You unfriended me because you didn’t want your fans to know about me,’” Heights told Outsports.
Heights said that Young’s reason for disconnecting from her was that Wikipedia contacted him about updating his page with information about Heights and he cut off contact in order to prevent that from happening. Young is yet to respond publicly or privately to his child’s statement, but Heights hopes that her posts kickstart a reconnection and healing between herself and her father.
“I wasn’t trying to bash him. I’m proud of putting it out there,” said Heights. “I’m ready to have a mature conversation with him about it… all I wanted him to do was to listen. We never had a conversation about me being gay one-on-one. I have the mindset of, if I talk to you normally and you don’t respond, I will do everything and anything to get a reaction out of you just so you’ll address what is going on and stop ignoring it,” she added.
“I just want him to be proud of me even if he is lying about it. Lie to me. Tell me you’re proud so I can never talk about it again… just make it seem like you care.”
While Heights waits for that sentiment from her father, the wrestling community is already offering its praise and acceptance. Heights admits that her interest in wrestling fell drastically in 2011 but she is set to make her first ever wrestling-connected appearance at the forthcoming Paris Is Bumping event as part of its Lip Sync Goddess category. The LGBTQ-led promotion Uncanny Attractions, which regularly features drag alongside pro wrestling, also expressed interest in working with Heights down the line.
“I’m always open to new things,” Heights said. “Drag is always changing, just like wrestling.”
Listen to the full interview with Washington Heights on the LGBT In The Ring podcast. Download and listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and everywhere else podcasts manifest.
Note: the author of this story is a sponsor of Paris Is Bumping, including a category featuring Washington Heights. Outsports itself is not a sponsor.