A former WWE wrestling star, who performed under the stage name ‘Tyler Reks,’ has come out as transgender. This is Gabbi Alon Tuft.
She shared the news with fans in a social media post on Thursday writing, “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.”
“I am no longer afraid and I am no longer fearful,” she adds. “I can now say with confidence, that I love myself for WHO I am.”
“However,” she said, “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.”
From 2008 to 2014, Tuft was cheered by fans battling opponents in matches on major professional platforms including Raw, Smackdown and Wrestlemania.
Tuft finally retired in 2014 in order to spend more time with her wife Priscilla and their daughter. Since then, she and Priscilla created a fitness company, Body Spartan, which aims to “positively transform the body, mind and spirit of men and women through targeted video workouts, nutritional programs and motivational sessions.”
While that was the public side of Tuft’s life, privately she had been keeping a secret since childhood.
In an interview with EXTRA’s Billy Bush, she shared, “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. But I suppressed it my whole life, just because of society, knowing that people didn’t accept it. So I pushed it down as far as I could.”
Tuft teased the announcement for several days on her Instagram account in a countdown featuring playing cards and photos of friends and family.
After calling the previous eight months “some of the darkest” of her life, Tuft thanked fans and social media followers today for “the incredible outpouring of support.”
“As I walked to my neighbor’s house yesterday, and for the first time since I began my transition, instead of walking with my head down in fear – I held it high, my fingers were no longer clenched and hiding my nails, and my hair was no longer hiding my face,” she wrote. “You have reaffirmed what I already knew, which is that we as humans truly are beings of love and light.”
The world of professional wrestling has seen very little in regard to performers coming out. In 2017, Anthony Bowens came out first as bisexual, and then as gay in 2019.
There’s a bit more of where that scene led here (NSFW) that doesn’t get too down and dirty.
It won’t surprise you that Sullivan’s Twitter account has since been deleted.
All of this follows the wrestler’s very tumultuous months after his internet troll comments came back to haunt him.
According to Sports Illustrated, several years ago Sullivan posted offensive comments under two usernames (“ElPerfecto” and “Disenfranchised”) but using a photo of himself.
The comments, made between 2007 and 2013, included sexist remarks about WWE executive Stephanie McMahon, racist comments regarding another user, and homophobic insults about NFL quarterback Phillip Rivers.
Here’s just a sample of what the homophobic remarks were like: “Philip Rivers = Crybaby b*tch and is extremely gay. Most of California, especially sothern cal, is gay. Fits well. Hell ‘Philip’ is a gay name in itself!@”
Sullivan was fined $100,000 by the WWE based on breaking a morality clause in his contract, and issued an apology.
“There is no excuse for the inappropriate remarks that I made years ago,” said Sullivan in a statement released by the WWE. “They do not reflect my personal beliefs nor who I am today, and I apologize to anyone I offended.”
And now, his gay porn past comes back into focus.
“The guilty dog barks the loudest.”
Just to be clear – there’s nothing wrong with being gay; there’s nothing wrong with doing gay porn; but I do have a problem with folks making homophobic comments to sooth their own self-loathing when they’ve taken money earned from the gay community.
On an appearance of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” WWE superstar John Cena addressed wrestler Darren Young’s coming out and the idea of other gay wrestlers coming out:
“My thing is this, if you’re good at your job, I don’t judge,” Cena — who has also been vocal about his support for his gay brother — told show host Andy Cohen. “Darren is really good at his job, he’s a wonderful performer, he’s a great entertainer and it’s a very, very bold move that he made to come out. So he certainly is very a brave individual for doing that.”
Cena added, “I think it’s great [Darren Young came out]. I’m glad that he finally got enough support from the people around him, or courage to make the decision that he did, so now at least he doesn’t have to live with the stress. He can be himself and nobody judges him around here.”
Check out this clip from E!’s reality show Total Divas where viewers learn, quite casually, that WWE Superstar John Cena has a gay brother.
In the episode, Nikki, who has been dating John Cena for several months joins Cena for a rare family gathering. Among the family members are John Cena’s brother Steve and his partner Darlando.
I personally like how matter of fact and comfortable Total Divas – in fact, the whole clan – is in including Steve and Darlando without any fanfare. Just as it should be. Great family dynamic there.
Related: TMZ caught up with Cena last month and spoke to him about fellow WWE Superstar Darren Young unexpectedly coming out. Cena is clearly very supportive Young, and speaks of his brother quite openly and directly.
The WWE has issued a statement to GLAAD regarding Darren Young coming out: “WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar. Today, in fact, Darren will be participating in one of our Be A Star anti-bullying rallies in Los Angeles to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation.”
WWE superstar John Cena applauds: “Good for him. That’s fantastic. I know Darren personally. Darren’s a great guy. That’s a very bold move for him. And congratulations for him for actually finally doing it. It’s all about being professional, and Darren Young is a consummate professional. For us, it’s entertainment, and if you’re entertaining you shouldn’t be judged by race, creed, color or sexuality … as long as you’re entertaining.”
WWE superstar Darren Young just dropped a bombshell, telling TMZ, he’s gay … and no, this isn’t part of the act.
Darren was at LAX Wednesday when we asked whether a gay wrestler could succeed in WWE, and Darren laughed, saying, “Absolutely. Look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.”
For the record, Darren is now the first openly gay wrestler ever at WWE … and the first headlining wrestler ever to come out while still signed to a major promotion.
Other pro wrestlers have been rumored to be gay, but that’s it … just rumors.
Bottom line: this is big, big news. For all its chauvinism and testosterone-driven bravado, coming out in WWE is tantamount to coming out in the NFL.