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How Wrestlecon Responded To Transphobic Trolling Is Honestly Shocking

How Wrestlecon Responded To Transphobic Trolling Is Honestly Shocking

Gisele Shaw
Phillip Faraone/Getty

Rick Steiner is facing consequences for his behavior toward trans wrestler Gisele Shaw.


CORRECTION: A earlier version of this story stated that the WWE took action against Steiner, it has been corrected to reflect that it was Wrestlecon.

The pro wrestling convention Wrestlecon said... checks notes... trans rights! Over the weekend, trans wrestler Gisele Shaw shared an awful experience she had with WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Rick Steiner on Twitter.

“I have been bullied all my life and have never stood up for myself because I’m scared that I would get beat up physically, mentally, or emotionally. The bullies in my life have always silenced me, but that ends today!” she began.

Shaw went on to describe how Steiner taunted her during a signing event at the convention — on International Transgender Day of Visibility, no less.

“While I was walking to my table, I hear someone yelling ‘you’re a man,’ ’you’re a dude,’ ‘you’re a piece of trash,’ ‘You are filth,’ ‘get the fuck away from here.’ I kept my head down and kept walking as I did not want to acknowledge that hate,” Shaw recalled.

When she arrived at her table she spoke with another unnamed wrestler about the incident and they decided they needed to know who it was who had been shouting at them. They returned to the previous area only to discover it was Steiner.

“I was shocked and could not believe that this was even happening. To have someone saying those comments who a lot of people look up to and consider their hero was quite shocking and disheartening. I was in disbelief so I asked him, ‘Excuse me?!’ He kept repeating those hateful phrases and started yelling at me in a public setting. It was inexcusable and unacceptable!” wrote Shaw.

She also recalled how several other pro wrestling legends witnessed the harassment and did nothing. They “just sat there, turned their heads away, did not want to get involved, or stand up for what’s right because it involved ‘one of the boys,’” she recounted. “Judging from that experience, it was more important for them to watch something wrong go down as [opposed] to standing up for someone who’s being bullied and doing what’s right.”

Shaw wrote that she decided to share her story because she’s done being bullied and won’t be silenced, particularly on International Transgender Day of Visibility. “I want everyone to know what kind of a deplorable person Rick Steiner is and that this cannot be tolerated. This keeps happening because people let it slide and do not take any action. If you do business with these types of people then I will not do business with you,” Shaw continued.

Shaw’s story was corroborated by IMPACT Wrestling’s Gia Miller and Daniel Spencer on their social media accounts. Ry Levey, director of the LGBTQ pro wrestling documentary Out In The Ring, also shared his own experiences of witnessing Steiner continuing to use homophobic slurs in the lobby of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel where the convection was being held.

Following the incidents, Steiner was banned from the remainder of the convention, and IMPACT Wrestling, the wrestling promotion Steiner is currently signed with, released the following statement:

“IMPACT Wrestling stands in full support of Gisele Shaw and the LGBTQ+ community. We are saddened by the incident Friday afternoon at Wrestlecon in Los Angeles and hope everyone can learn and be better from it,” the company’s statement read. “Thank you to the millions worldwide who have read Gisele’s statement and showed full support for her. Particular thanks go to the organizing staff of Wrestlecon as well as the IMPACT roster and crew who all handled an ugly situation with the utmost professionalism.”

Shaw has also received public support from fellow wrestlers like Chris Jericho, who pointed out that this is a pattern of behavior for Steiner. “Rick Steiner has always been a bully and has gotten away with so much because he is a ‘Steiner’,” he wrote.

“Just know that you are supported,” IMPACT Hall of Fame member Gail Kim tweeted to Shaw. “I’m so let down by this behavior.”

A wrestler facing the consequences for his transphobic behavior? We love to see it. Also, it sends a message that this kind of language and attitude isn’t welcome in the community. This feels like a step forward in a time when trans people need all the visible and unequivocal support they deserve.

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