Gabrielle Union Recalls Stepdaughter Zaya Wade Feeling “Outed” on Social Media

On her Facebook Watch show Peace of Mind, Taraji P. Henson spoke to Gabrielle Union about her stepdaughter Zaya, who is transgender, dealing with the world finding out about her transition.

By Kaitlin Reilly Dec 14, 2020 5:00 PMTags
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In the first episode of Taraji P. Henson's new Facebook Watch show about mental health, actress Gabrielle Union spoke about her stepdaughter Zaya's experience coming out as trans.

The 13-year-old, who is the daughter of Gabrielle's husband Dwyane Wade, came out publicly as trans earlier this year. However, coming out was more of a process than a single moment. 

"Zaya's peace is non-negotiable," Gabrielle explained to Taraji and co-host Tracie Jade Jenkins on Peace of Mind With Taraji. "As Zaya gathered more language, she was able to tell us about her identity. She was able to tell us about her sexuality. She was able to tell us, 'I'm trans.' She says, 'I've come out a few times. I came out to my teacher in third grade. And then, when you guys posted that picture of me in Chicago at my birthday party.'" 

The photo in question showed Gabrielle and Zaya posing with a birthday cake in June 2020. The L.A.'s Finest actress said that "certain Black blogs" picked apart the photo and tried to figure out Zaya's gender identity. Zaya told Gabrielle the experience made her feel "outed." 

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While Dwyane and Gabrielle are supportive of Zaya, the Bring It On star admitted they still have a lot to learn. 

"She asked for a demisexual flag for her birthday, and Dwyane's like to me, 'Do you know what that is?'" Gabrielle joked of the couple having to look the word up. 

It was Zaya who taught the parents about the difference between gender identity, sexual expression and gender expression.   

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"We only know what we know," the 48-year-old told the hosts. "You have to be open to embrace what we don't know."

The Breaking In star also shared her experience with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which she was diagnosed with after she was raped while working at a Payless ShoeSource at 19 years old.

She recalled first opening up about the assault when an interviewer asked her about kissing her Bad Boys co-stars. 

"I was like, 'I was raped,'" the star said of the interview. "'Like, you want to get a different line of questioning? Because we could actually talk about something that could save someone's life, or create a community, or we could talk about some guys I was paid to kiss.'" 

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