Former WWE wrestler Gabbi Tuft opens up about her gender identity.
Thursday on Instagram, the athlete — who previously wrestled under the ring name Tyler Reks — announced she is transgender for the first time publicly.
“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,” Gabbi began her emotional message.
Though she admits “the previous eight months have been some of the darkest of my entire life,” she has received support from her loved ones, including wife Priscilla and their 9-year-old daughter Mia.
In an interview with “Extra” host Billy Bush that aired Friday, Gabbi revealed she questioned her gender identity early in life.
“When I was 10... when my parents weren’t home, I would sneak into my mom’s closet and try out her clothes and it just felt right,” she said.
Gabbi and Priscilla also discussed how the couple is handling intimacy in their relationship.
When Bush mentioned, “Priscilla came to you and said, ‘Look, I’m not sexually attracted to women. So this is going to be tough.’ How have you worked that out together?” Gabbi replied, “It’s been a very interesting… progression.”
“Our intimate life has changed quite a bit,” Gabbi continued. “We’re not active in that way right now, and what we’ve discovered is a whole different part of our relationship.
“We actually don’t have partners outside of the relationship at all. I was a virgin when we got married 18 and a half years ago — we had never kissed. Our first kiss was on our wedding day.”
As for daughter Mia, Gabbi says they are having “an ongoing conversation” regarding the transition.
“I told her, ‘Sweetheart, I’m not going to go out in public right now and go outside,’ and she goes, ‘Why, Daddy?’ ‘I’m afraid that people might make fun of me and it might affect you,’ and she leans over gives me the biggest hug and she says, ‘Daddy, I will never make fun of you,’” Gabbi recalls.
By sharing her story, Gabbi hopes to inspire and provide support to other transgender men and women.
“With everything that I’m going through, that I have been through, and knowing how emotionally distressful it can be, because, like I said, there have been some dark nights… I know that there are thousands of transgender women, transgender men that are going through the same process I’m going through, and they don’t have the support that I do,” she said.
“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 a light at the end of the tunnel can just be that ray of hope that keeps somebody with us, that keeps him alive, and lets them know, ‘Yes, I can do this, too.’”