Gisele Shaw talks about coming out as transgender.
During Pride month in 2022, IMPACT Wrestling star Gisele Shaw came out as transgender. Now, she's talking to Denise Salcedo about what led to her decision to come out, the responsibility she has to the community, and why even though she's honored to help break barriers and raise awareness, she's not interested in being placed in the role as "the poster child" for the community.
"WrestleMania week, I attended an event called Dresslemania, where we auctioned off dresses that were important to us and has significant value to us. At the event, we told stories about our personal, you know, quite personal adversities, me having a rough childhood because I was being bullied by people, and it just wasn't nice," Shaw recalled. "This fan came up to me after the event, who happens to be a trans woman as well. She just wanted to share her story with me, and, she just wanted to talk to me and say that she could relate to my story. For me, at the time, because I wasn't out, I panicked inside, and I was like, "Oh, my God, I'm like, You're my workplace, and you want to talk about this. I just didn't know how to deal with it. I know, I just brushed her off -- which I went home, and I was just so feeling like I was feeling like crap, after because I looked up to the Knockouts and looked up to the Divas, and these women, incredible women, inspired me to be who I am today, and to follow my dreams and my goals and all this stuff. I am on the other side now, and I have the opportunity to do that for someone else, and I didn't really do that for them, I brushed them off. So, that's when it clicked. I was like, why am I so scared? I'm taking my power back. Enough is enough."
Furthermore, Gisele spoke about how not being out publicly had a negative impact on her mindset while wrestling.
"So that's when I went to IMPACT Wrestling and I said, 'Hey, if you're able to help me with this, that would be fantastic.' I just want to live my life effectively," she continued. "I think that's the most important thing. we only get one shot in this life and I don't really want to be, you know, I don't want to be pretending to be someone else. I want to just be me and, and also as a performer, that really affected me as well because I would go out in the ring and I would not be able to perform 100% because I'm always thinking, 'Okay, are the fans talking about me? Can they tell?' Like, what are they saying about me, you know? Even with my personal life as well, like, I would go out, you know, to a restaurant, or wherever. I'm constantly thinking, it's like, you're always on the edge, and I can't really just fully be myself and just relax. You know, we're always thinking, 'What are people thinking?' So, yeah, and I just thought I want to be able to use this platform that I have, IMPACT Wrestling, for good and I would love to be able to inspire and educate and raise awareness, especially for the next generation. I just hope that I can do that, and do them justice."
Furthermore, Gisele addresses those that think she is now “the poster child” for the community, saying that is not her goal, reiterating that she wants to only make things easier for the next generation.
"It's such a huge responsibility. I really also want to say and remind people that while we are representing that community," she said. "What we can do is, hopefully, inspire people with the platforms that we have, educate people, and raise awareness, because I am not an activist, but I am an advocate, and sometimes people do, they think that 'Oh, my God, you're the poster child!' No, I don't want to be a poster child. I'm here to educate and raise awareness, and inspire," she said.
Gisele continues to make waves in IMPACT. She was recently named by Deonna Purrazzo as someone who she is excited to watch rise through the ranks of IMPACT. Read more here.