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Gabrielle Union opens up about stepdaughter Zaya feeling outed by social media photo

"She said, 'I felt like I was outed and I was just standing next to my cake,'" Union said.
/ Source: TODAY

Gabrielle Union sat down for a heart-to-heart with Taraji P. Henson in which she opened up about how her stepdaughter, Zaya, who is transgender, felt outed by a social media photo.

Union was the first guest on Henson's new talk show, "Peace of Mind With Taraji," on Facebook Watch. Zaya, 13, who is the daughter of Union's husband, retired NBA star Dwyane Wade, made her red carpet debut earlier this year alongside her supportive family.

"Zaya's peace is nonnegotiable. 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,'" Union said. "And she says, 'I've come out a few times ... I came out to my teacher in the third grade, and then when you guys posted that picture of me in Chicago at my birthday party.'"

Union said the photo was of Zaya standing next to her birthday cake.

"That picture was dissected on certain Black blogs and the comments were guessing as to who Zaya was and why ... she said, 'I felt like I was outed and I was just standing next to my cake,'" Union said.

Zaya's father shared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in February that his daughter uses female pronouns and her name is Zaya.

"I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. It’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice,'" Wade said. “Right now, it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her.”

Union said she and her husband fully support Zaya and are learning as they go, including what it meant when she told them she's demisexual.

They weren't initially familiar with the term, but the actor said her stepdaughter explained that "identity is not the same as sexuality is not the same as gender expression."

"We only know what we know, and you have to be open to embrace that we don't know s---," Union said.