Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have said they encouraged their trans daughter Zaya “to be her authentic self” from three years old.
Wade and Union are raising five children together – two-year-old Kaavia, seven-year-old Xavier, 13-year-old Zaya, 19-year-old Zaire, as well as Wade’s adopted nephew Dahveon, who is 18.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about their parenting style, and how they help their kids to feel free to be themselves, Union said: “We try to push with them, we try to push [them to be] their authentic selves.
“We’re not trying to make them wear a mask or be someone that they’re not… we’ve done that since Zaya was three years old and we’ll continue now that Kaavia is two years old.”
Wade and Union also want to teach their children to call out others’ “poor behaviour”, and be accountable for their own.
She continued: “Oftentimes, we are looking at the reaction to something rather than the initial offense. So we want to be able to turn that reaction into, ‘This is a good thing, this is what acknowledging and assessing poor behavior is.’
“The we can set about gently correcting. And so you’re positioning these young Black girls and the friends, you’re empowering everyone to make gentle corrections, and then you lean into how good accountability feels and receiving corrections. It’s a positive thing.”
Wade and Union are fiercely protective of Zaya, who came out publicly as trans last year.
Earlier this month, Union explained: “Our home will never be a safe space for bigots.
“I look at problematic language as violence and I’m never going to expose anyone I love to violence, whether that be verbal, physical, emotional or spiritual.
“Jerks exist in every area of life. And we function from a place of truth in our household. But if you come at us, oh, be very prepared.”