Gabrielle Union reveals stepdaughter Zaya Wade ‘felt like she was outed’ as trans before she was ready

Matilda Davies
·2-min read

Gabrielle Union has spoken out about her stepdaughter Zaya Wade being “outed” and having her photos “dissected” on social media.

In the interview on Taraji P. Henson’s Facebook show, Peace of Mind with Taraji, Union spoke out about her stepdaughter’s struggles coming out as trans.

The actor recalled posting a photo of Zaya standing next to her birthday cake on Instagram. She said the photo was “dissected” online, with many comments “guessing as to who Zaya was and why”.

She remembered Zaya saying: “I felt like I was outed, and I was just standing next to my cake.”

Zaya’s father, ex-NBA player Dwyane Wade, shared that his daughter is trans in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in February.

In the interview, he said: “Once [she] came home and said: ‘Call me Zaya and I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said: ‘You are a leader. It’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice.'”

Union opened up about the conversations the family has had about Zaya’s identity, and how Zaya has also come out as demisexual, meaning she only experiences physical attraction after an emotional bond has formed.

“She spoke of coming out again, when she was like: ‘I’m trans, I’m demisexual, I’m not bound by gender in terms of attraction,'” Union said.

Union admitted she and Wade didn’t understand what demisexuality meant at first. However as parents, they are focused on learning.

“We only know what we know, and you have to be open to embracing that you don’t know s**t,” she added.

Taraji P. Henson reflects on her brother’s coming out.

During the interview, Taraji P. Henson also spoke about her brother coming out to her. She said she didn’t think coming out should have to happen.

“I really have a problem with this idea of coming out, that bothers me”, she said. “That creates trauma, unecessary anxiety, it creates PTSD.

“I don’t have to come out and say I’m heterosexual. Why is that they have to make this big presentation about something that’s so personal to them?”

Henson emotionally praised Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade’s response to Zaya’s coming out, telling her: “We need that. Because our children are dying of suicide. These are things that they are dealing with.”

Union and Wade previously dedicated their spot in TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 to their “wildly inspiring” daughter.

The couple also honoured Zaya at the 2020 GLAAD Media Awards. In their speech, Wade said: “We stand as allies with the LGBT+ community as proud parents of a transgender child.

“Our daughter Zaya is leading us in our journey, and we’re doing all we can to give every one of our kids the ability to live their truth.”