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Gabrielle Union reveals Zaya felt ‘outed’ by photo on social media before coming out as transgender

Thirteen-year-old discussed coming out as transgender in a video shared by Union in February 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Monday 14 December 2020 23:47
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Gabrielle Union discusses Zaya's coming out experience

Gabrielle Union has opened up about her stepdaughter’s experience coming out as trans, and why Zaya felt “outed” by photos on social media.

Union reflected on the 13-year-old’s journey during an appearance on the premiere episode of Facebook Watch's Peace of Mind With Taraji, where she spoke with co-hosts Taraji P Henson and Tracie Jade Jenkins about her stepdaughter, who she shares with husband Dwyane Wade.

"Zaya's peace is non-negotiable," she said. "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. 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.'”

According to Union, the picture in question is a photo of Zaya posing next to her birthday cake; however, she recalled that picture “was dissected on certain Black blogs”.

“And the comments were guessing as to who Zaya was, and why…” Union continued, adding that her stepdaughter said the incident made her feel like she was “outed”.

“She said: 'It felt like I was outed, and I was just standing next to my cake,’” the actress recalled.

During the conversation, Union also discussed how she and Wade are continuing to learn as parents, explaining that they only “know what we know”.

“And we have to be open to embrace that we don’t know sh*t” she said.

Zaya came out publicly as transgender in February with a video, in which she discussed the pressures of trying to fit in.

At the time, Union shared the clip on social media with the caption: “Meet Zaya. She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her.

“It’s ok to listen to, love and respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people.”

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