Actress Gabrielle Union recently opened up on her relationship with her stepdaughter, 13-year-old Zaya Wade, and how she and her husband, NBA legend Dwyane Wade, constantly strive to be the best parents to Zaya as possible.
Zaya Wade came out as transgender in February 2020, changing her name from Zion to Zaya. Wade and Union have previously defended Zaya’s sexuality and have tirelessly supported her (and the LGBTQ+ community by extension) since she came out.
In a recent interview with Marie Claire, Gabrielle Union talked about how she and Wade parent Zaya and how inspiring she is, saying that she “has been living as her authentic self since third grade,” and has inspired “countless others to do the same. You want your child to feel freedom to be exactly as they are,” says Gabrielle. “We are her lifetime lifelines to love, peace, joy, grace, protection, and compassion.”
Recently, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade were both honored with spots on the 2020 TIME100 ‘Most Influential People’ list. Though Union and Wade have spoken up about causes for equality in the past, their spots on the list were due to their support for Zaya and for becoming allies to the LGBTQ+ community. Union and Wade credited Zaya Wade for their spots on the TIME100 list.
“She’s helped us see, you know, life differently, and I’m thankful for her,” said Wade in an interview with Good Morning America. “She’s allowed me to be informed where I can help others, you know, in the same process. Right now it’s a lot of people in the Black community that will not accept someone of [the] transgender community, you know, and look at them as different and not worthy,” added Wade. “Not worthy of life.”
Gabrielle Union said of her stepdaughter: “We’re still kind of getting used to being recognized for doing things that have really kind of come naturally like loving your kids as they are,” says Union. “It’s just weird to get credit for that. When you are in the fight for equality, you have to embrace every life as being worthy of and deserving of equality. You can’t pick and choose.”