Gabrielle Union's Step-Daughter Zaya Felt “Outed” After Her Parents Posted Photos of Her
Union says a simple picture of Zaya next to her birthday cake was "dissected" by blogs.
On December 14th, Gabrielle Union appeared as the first guest on Peace of Mind With Taraji, a brand new Facebook Watch show hosted by Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade Jenkins. During her sit down with Henson and Jenkins, Union talked about her 2020 experience, and how she has gotten to know her family on a deeper level—including her 13-year-old step-daughter Zaya Wade.
Union said that Zaya, who came out as transgender in February of this year, told Union and father Dwyane Wade that she felt "outed" before getting the chance to come out on her own terms after her parents posted photos of her on social media.
"Zaya's peace is nonnegotiable," Union told Henson and Jenkins. "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.'"
"And she says, 'I've come out a few times,'" Union continued. "'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.'"
Union said that although the photo in question is "just Zaya standing next to her cake," she explained, "that picture was dissected on certain Black blogs, and the comments were the guessing as to who Zaya was and why. [Zaya] said, 'It felt like I was outed, and I was just standing next to my cake.'"
Union said that when Zaya finally felt ready to identify herself, she came out a third time. "She spoke of coming out again when she was like, 'I'm trans. I'm demisexual. I'm not bound by gender," Union continued.
At one point, Wade asked his daughter if her demisexuality still meant that she is also trans, and Zaya clarified, "Identity is not the same as sexuality...is not the same as gender expression," she told her parents.
And that fact was one that was brand new to both Union and Wade. They realized they had a lot of learning to do to better understand and become an ally to their daughter. "You have to be open to learn that we don't know shit," Union explained.
Dissecting people in an attempt to figure out "who" they are and "why" doesn't affect anyone reading the dissections and only makes life harder for those under the microscope. If someone is going to step into their true identity, allowing them to do so in their own time is crucial.
Luckily, Zaya seems to have come out the other side that "second coming out" stronger, more in tune with her true self, and empowered with a great support system behind her.