Gabbi Tuft faced a lot of fear coming out as transgender — and that's exactly why she's so open about her journey.
“There was so much emotional trauma I went through. I faced a massive fear of coming out,” the 42-year-old tells Yahoo during Pride Evolution, a one-hour livestream. “My business, Body Spartan, is a 90 percent male demographic, and I was what you would think of as the epitome of the ‘alpha male’ when I was male. So to go from one end of the spectrum to the soft, delicate female, I was so scared I was going to lose everything.”
More than anyone, Tuft feared the response from her loved ones, including her wife of nearly 20 years, Priscilla.
“My family, my wife, my daughter, my friends — [I thought] they were all going to reject me,” Tuft explains. “I had many, many many dark nights where I contemplated suicide, and I was very, very close to pulling the trigger many times.”
Tuft’s experience struggling with mental health isn’t uncommon, particularly for transgender individuals. According to the Trevor Project, a national study found that 40 percent of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt with 25 percent of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
Luckily, “fans and family were completely supportive from the start,” Tuft shares, noting “my wife loves me for who I am, and she's the same woman that loved me when I was a man. My daughter fully accepts me, and she supports me.” But it’s also the way she feels about herself that has profoundly changed, declaring that she has “never felt so free my entire life” and that her entire perspective on the world around her has changed.
Now happy, healthy, and chronicling her experience through the Digital Gabbi Transformation Project, Tuft wants to use her position as a prominent figure in the transgender community to help others.
“Knowing what I went through, there are other people out there, whether you’re transgender, male or female, or somewhere in between, I don’t ever want anyone to have to deal with that,” says Tuft. “We should live in a society where instead of a transgender person being fearful of coming out, it should be celebrated.”
Read more from Yahoo Life:
Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.