Shawn Bennett, a referee for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), came out as gay on National Coming Out Day, celebrated annually on October 11.

Bennett made the announcement in an Instagram post accompanied by photos of himself at Orlando Pride.

“Happy National Coming Out Day!” Bennett said. “Oh yea, I'm gay. There's the answer to the question I get asked most on social media.”

“This should come as little surprise to those that know me, but I've never actually said it publicly before.”

Bennett said that he came out to himself in his early 20s and was “terrified” to come out at work for the first ten years.

“I came out to friends and family in my late twenties. That’s when I stopped hiding it, but would never put myself out there in any way,” Bennett wrote. “People that knew, knew. People that asked, I would be truthful with. There are still important people in my life that I have never literally told.”

“I spent my first 10 years involved in pro wrestling terrified of my own sexuality. I was convinced that I would never be successful if people knew I was gay. Those were fears that I made up in my head.”

“Once I got to WWE, I would continue to keep to myself as much as possible. When discussing relationships around people that were not in my close circle, I would talk in a way that would hide the sex of whoever I was talking about. I would even pretend to be single when I wasn’t, just to avoid talking about my past partner.”

“The fact that I haven’t been public meant that I was still hiding behind a mask. This post takes a ton of weight off of my shoulders. This post crumbles the wall that I’ve had up for so long and removes the mask.”

“I’m proud of who I am, what I’ve accomplished, where my life is headed, and my way of life. Like everyone else, at the end of the day I just want to be happy, to give and receive love, both to myself and others,” he said.