Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have opened up about how they were led by daughter Zaya Wade as she came out to them as transgender, and gave a simple warning to the “bigots” who “come at” them.
“When I look at Zaya, I get hope,” Dwyane said in a wide-ranging front-cover interview with People magazine about the learning curve of raising Zaya.
Zaya Wade, who came out publicly as trans last year, recently had a one-on-one chat with Michelle Obama.
“We were all bawling!” recalls Gabrielle. “She was so amazing and dynamic, and to be able to hold your own with Michelle Obama, it was so impactful.”
Zaya was three when Dwyane and Gabrielle began discussing the “possibilities” of her future.
“We decided to approach it a different way,” Wade said. “I come from a locker room of a macho, male-dominant sport. But I started learning and I started to watch her. And from then on we started having more conversations.”
When Zaya Wade first came out to her family as trans, Gabrielle said she “didn’t have many resources”.
“So I just reached out to everyone I knew from social media,” she said. “Everyone responded with love, resources and information.”
Gabrielle added that the pair knew they would undoubtedly make mistakes at first.
“We weren’t coming into it like it’s got to be our way,” she said. “We’re going to mess up. We’re going to say the wrong thing. But we had to learn and be led.”
Since then, the couple have become vocal advocates for trans kids and the LGBT+ community more widely. And they are firm on not tolerating any abuse or harassment of their trans daughter.
“Our home will never be a safe space for bigots,” said Union. “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.”
She added: “We want to make sure [our kids] feel strong and supported and free to be exactly who they are.
Dwyane agrees: “What I love about our home is that everybody is unique. And we allow their uniqueness to shine.”