Wed 15 March 2023 17:53, UK

Gisele Shaw, a rising star in the world of women’s wrestling, came out as transgender last year – we take a closer look at the athlete’s life and career.

In the latest episode of IMPACT Wrestling’s Diary series, Gisele Shaw shares her personal story and experience of coming out as transgender, as well as her journey into pro wrestling.

Shaw has left her mark on the pro wrestling company’s Knockouts division in her first year, challenging for multiple titles and developing a stage persona known as the Quintessential Diva.

Gisele Shaw grew up in the Philippines

Gisele Shaw was born in the Philippines and lived there with her two sisters until she was around 13 years old. Her family then emigrated to Canada where she attended high school.

Speaking on her childhood she said: “Growing up wasn’t easy. I always felt like there was something different. But I knew that I was born in the wrong body. It’s like you are living a lie.” 

The IMPACT Wrestling star used to watch WWF (now WWE) with her family. She found herself enthralled by the sport but did not truly consider the possibility that it was something she could try herself until later.

“I was actually a flight attendant at the time, and a friend of mine at the gym asked if I wanted to go to a show. I just fell in love with it,” Gisele said in the Diary series.

She soon enrolled in Lance Storm, a legendary Canadian grappler’s training academy. “It was surreal, as I watched Lance growing up,” Shaw added.

Shaw only came out as transgender last year

Having made her wrestling debut in January 2015, Gisele Shaw only made her trans identity public last year. She made the announcement on national television during Toronto Pride.

Gisele revealed in an interview with the BBC that an incident with a stranger in a bar was ultimately what led her to come out publicly.

“I was at a bar, and this girl came up to me,” she said. “She was belligerent – and out of nowhere, she says: “You’re a boy, right?”

“It was just so shocking, and I didn’t know what to do. I just froze, then went home and cried and cried and cried. And I knew something had to be done about it,” Gisele explained.

‘It was time for me to be who I am’

Shaw also revealed that she never thought she would disclose her gender identity. “This industry is very cut-throat and I didn’t want to give anyone a reason to say ‘no’ to me. I wanted to show them the wrestling side, and that being trans is not a ‘gimmick’. I didn’t want to be known as the trans wrestler and make it that way, but due to my skills and hard work.”

But ultimately she wanted to be able to express herself authentically in all aspects of her life.

“Growing up, I’ve always wanted to inspire people, but I couldn’t really do that if I wasn’t being true to myself,” she said. “So I made a decision and told Impact Wrestling that it was time for me to be who I am, and live my best life freely and authentically.”

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