Earlier this month, former WWE Superstar Gabbi Tuft (fka Tyler Reks) bravely came out as a transgender woman through her social media platforms. Tufte spoke with Renee Paquette on Oral Sessions to describe how her life has transformed since that big reveal.
“I feel great! This has probably been the most freeing two weeks of my life,” Gabbi Tuft said with joy in her voice. “When the news hit, I felt liberated. I don’t have to hide anymore. I can walk outside [and] my neighbors are just waving [and saying], ‘Hi Gabbi. Good to see you!’ It was like my prison sentence was over.”
To understand her story a little more, Paquette asked Tuft when did she start realizing she wanted to identify as something other than the gender she was assigned to at birth.
“That’s a good question. Probably about three years ago is when we first started experimenting with me wearing female clothing,” she began. “I don’t think I really had the desire until it was, gosh, last year when we had the lockdowns. I was starting to get dressed up every night. And then it was the pain of taking off the hair and taking off the makeup that made me realize I really feel like presenting male was the show. I was living my reality, and it slowly became harder and harder. I don’t remember the exact day, but it was me basically going, ‘This isn’t right. I want to stay female.’ So, I’d say it was mid-summer when I had that realization.”
Tuft admits that her wife, Priscilla, is one of the few pillars of strength she has in her life. She told Paquette that Priscilla was very accepting and supportive of her newfound journey.
“You know, she had noticed like, ‘Hey, you’re really getting into this. This is a thing; you’re heading that way,'” she started off saying. “Before I really recognized that this is what I wanted to do, I was fighting it tooth and nail…It was a series of conversations, but I knew she knew deep down inside. I remember she had called her mom and told her earlier on over the summer, but this was disclosed to me later on. But she said that this was happening more and more, and she thought there was going to be a point when Gabe doesn’t come back.
“One day, she had mentioned to me about seeing the female in her mind in the daytime. So, I took that as, ‘I’ve got to stop this. This has just become a crazy fetish…’ She came to me one day and said, ‘Hey babe, is there something you need to tell me?’ I kind of shook my head, ‘Yeah. Let’s go talk.’ We sat on the front porch, and I tried so hard to blurt it out…she looked at me and said, ‘Baby, I know. I love you. Things are going to change, but we’ll figure it out.'”
Tuft noted that telling her wife was literally a life or death situation. If she didn’t go through with telling her wife, she knew it was only a matter of time before she would take her own life [warning: the next passage is graphic].
“The emotional pain was so overwhelming thinking that who I really was stuck inside and I can’t really be that person. Slowly, I had these visions of me picking up a gun – I have so many handguns and firearms – and walking outside to my backyard and putting it to my head and pulling the trigger,” she sadly mentioned. “I said, ‘Tell her now, or I’ll have a bullet in my head in a day or two.”
Following that, Paquette wanted to know how the hormone therapy has been going for her so far.
“I’m the most balanced than I’ve ever been in my entire life,” she happily reported. “I’m so in touch with my inner self, but I do cry a lot.”
Next, Paquette asked how long, on average, does it take for people to go through with the surgery, especially in her case.
“It can take up to 3-5 years for the estrogen to shift,” she replied. “I also need to save some money, so it kind of depends on when that happens. I want to do it all at once.”
Paquette additionally asked if she could provide a rough estimate of how much these types of surgeries could cost.
“The average cost to transition can be upwards of $100,000,” she answered. “That’s not even counting the snippety snip snip.”
Before her big announcement, Tuft revealed that she was extremely nervous to interact with others in public as a trans woman.
“I think it was literally up until the day I came out publicly that I was nervous,” she admitted. “I was nervous every time I went out. Whether it was a neighbor who saw me and didn’t know what was going on or if I went to the grocery store and tried to integrate…for me, I had to relearn social integration [and] social behavior patterns.”
Tuft reports that she and her wife’s relationship is closer than ever after her big reveal. She mentioned that their conversations have progressed from general to more in-depth.
“We are closer than ever. It’s crazy,” she stated. “We connect on a deep emotional level that I did not allow myself to feel before. Many days and nights will go by where we’ll talk about everything that I couldn’t express as a man.”
Tuft made sure to clear the air about the misconceptions that can occur when males transition to females that a lot of times people assume their preferred sexual orientation is gay. For her, that’s not the case.
“I think the only major misconception or assumption is that I’m gay. People will automatically assume I like guys, but I don’t,” she informed. “I’m still straight, and I love my wife. I’m still very attracted to females. I’m just this weird and strange phenomenon, but I’m not gay; I’m straight.”
Before wrapping up the interview, Paquette asked Gabbi how her pronoun transitions have been going so far. While she wants to be referred to as she/her pronouns, she completely understands that it’ll take time for people to fully process her going from Gabe to Gabbi.
“That’s a really good question. I am not – if we’re talking about people’s perceptions – I don’t care,” she mentioned. “My preferred pronouns are her/she. I love to be preferred as a female because that’s who I am inside. But I fully recognize that the world is transitioning along with me. They’ve known Gabe for 42 years, and they have known Gabe as a male.
“For me to be offended if somebody says ‘dude, man, him, Gabe,’ I think I would be really shallow. It’s a thing people need to adjust to. I’ve been in the public eye for a long time. I get it’s going to take time. I’m ok with it.”
You can listen to Gabbi Tuft’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions w/Renée Paquette with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.