In a powerful and candid statement posted to Instagram, former WWE superstar Gabbi Tuft came out as transgender.
"This is me. Unashamed, unabashedly me. This is the side of me that has hidden in the shadows, afraid and fearful of what the world would think; afraid of what my family, friends, and followers would say or do,” she wrote on social media. “I am no longer afraid and I am no longer fearful. I can now say with confidence, that I love myself for WHO I am.”
Gabbi, who tied the knot with wife Priscilla Tuft in 2002, detailed her painful journey of self-acceptance. “The previous eight months have been some of the darkest of my entire life,” Gabbi said, adding: “The emotional turmoil of being transgender and having to face the world has almost ended me on multiple occasions.”
The former athlete added that “the day I stopped caring about what other people thought, was the day I truly became limitless and allowed my authentic self to come into the light.” Gabbi is best known for her time in the WWE under the ring name Tyler Reks.
As she revealed her true identity to the world, she said that she was “grateful” to her wife, family and closest friends for accepting her and loving her. However, she does acknowledge the reality that everyone might not feel the same way.
“I don’t expect everyone to agree or understand. It’s not my place to change any of your core beliefs. Just know that the outer shell may change, but the soul remains the same," she wrote. “I know that many of you have questions and, as I have promised, they will all be answered... I promise to always be transparent and truthful with my journey, and to be a light to those that are in need.”
In a sneak peek of her upcoming interview on Extra with host Billy Bush, the retired athlete recalled that when she was a child, she would “sneak into [her] mom’s closet and try out her clothes,” adding that “it just felt right.”
Gabbi admits that she feels comfortable in her own skin now and hopes that her story will inspire others who are in the same position. “And so here’s what I pledge: I promise that I will share my story and be 100 percent transparent, because knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel can just be that ray of hope that keeps somebody with us.”