Gabrielle Union has shared an inspiring video in support of her stepdaughter Zaya in which the 12-year-old discusses coming out as transgender.
“It’s ok to listen to, love and respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people.”
In the clip, Zaya, who is riding in a golf buggy with her father, Union’s husband Dwayne Wade, opens up about being true to yourself and the pressures of trying to be someone you’re not.
“I would say you know, just be true to yourself, because what’s the point of being on this earth if you’re gonna try to be someone you’re not?” she says.
“It’s just like, be true and don’t care about the stereotypical way of like being you is. [sic]”
Meet Zaya. She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people. pic.twitter.com/G2lLVdD2VT— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 11, 2020
Her father goes on to ask about dealing with negative responses, to which the 12-year-old responds: “I know it can get tough, but I think you push through and you be the best to you, and especially more recently, it’s become more accepting.
“I think even through hard times, you’ve got to just push through. I feel like it’s very worth it when you reach that point of yourself.
“You can look in the mirror and say hi to yourself, like, ‘Nice to meet you’ instead of, like, ‘I don’t really know who I am.’”
Zaya’s message has been viewed more than 2.6m times on Instagram and has received thousands of comments offering words of support and praise.
“Her brain and spirit is on another level – we should all rise to that consciousness,” actress Jessica Alba wrote.
Another fan wrote: “Zaya!!! She's amazing and I'm so glad she is blessed with y'all as parents.
“This is generational curse breaking love. She will grow up to feel healthy and whole knowing that her presence isn't to be apologised for but celebrated. A whole gift.”
Following the surge of support, Union headed back online to share a further tweet thanking everyone for their words of encouragement.
Huge huge huge THANK YOU to everyone whose dms I slid into, friends, & family who provided information, resources, love & encouragement. We are humble LGBTQ+ allies with ALOT to learn & grateful for all the support. We encourage yall to check us as needed 🤗 Again, thank you!— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 11, 2020
“Huge huge huge THANK YOU to everyone who’s dms I slid into, friends and family who provided information, resources, love and encouragement," she wrote.
“We are humble LGBTQ+ allies with ALOT to learn and grateful for all the support. We encourage y’all to check us needed! Again, thank you!”
Earlier this week, Wade opened up about the pride he felt for Zaya, expressing how he wanted to give her “the best opportunity to be her best self”.
Speaking on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the former NBA player discussed the moment Zaya, who was born Zion, revealed she was transgender.
He said the 12-year-old had told him: “Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth and I want to be referenced as ‘she’ and her’, I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.”
Wade went on to reveal how hard the couple have been working to support Zaya in her journey.
“First of all, me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re proud allies as well,” he told the host.
Last year the couple pledged their support to the LGBTQ community with a limited-edition T-shirt that's raising money for GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network).