Dave Bautista knows that his muscles and many tattoos can make him an intimidating figure, but lucky for queer fans, he continues to prove that he’s on our side. Breaking down his tattoos in a recent interview with GQ, the Guardians of the Galaxy star and former WWE wrestler shared that he had one covered up when it became associated with homophobia.
“I have a lot of coverups,” Bautista explained. “I think that coverups are again part of your story, part of your life story. You know, you have regrets. You make mistakes. And so you try to fix them as best you can.”
His coverups include the names of former partners, a symbol that had been put on backwards, and his first tattoo—a heart of stone located on a part of his body that, as he put it, was easy to hide from his parents. But one particular coverup story has a special resonance for queer fans.
“This one used to be a team logo,” Bautista said, pointing out a tattoo on his forearm. “I was part of a team of a person I considered a friend and someone I really looked up to. And then he later came out publicly with some anti-gay statements and turned out to be an extreme homophobe.
Dave Bautista will always have a fan in me for this pic.twitter.com/hwIBAKyPCE
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) January 4, 2023
“I had a huge issue with it – it’s a personal issue with me, my mom’s a lesbian – and I could no longer call him a friend so I had it covered up with this.”
Being his mom’s biggest fan, Bautista has long been an outspoken supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. In honor of last year’s Pride, he posted a dedication to his mom along with a photo of himself wearing a shirt that read “Be You” under a rainbow graphic.
“I was always proud of who my mom was because she was always proud of who she was,” Bautista wrote at the time. “In your face, fuck you if you don’t like it, unapologetically loud and proud. And her son [paid] attention. BE LOUD, BE PROUD, BE YOU.”
And shortly after starring as Drax in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, Bautista participated in the NOH8 campaign, which protested California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage. More recently, MCU fans got to watch Drax scoring drinks at a gay bar in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
The upcoming third volume of the franchise will be Bautista’s last outing as Drax. “I’m so grateful for Drax. I love him,” he told GQ. “But there’s a relief [that it’s over].”
“I just want to be a better actor,” he added. “I want respect from my peers. I don’t need accolades—I really don’t, man. It’s about the experience, about knowing that I accomplished something.”