Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union celebrate 'wildly inspiring' transgender daughter

The couple spoke about how inspiring it has been to see their transgender daughter Zaya "be her most authentic self."
/ Source: TODAY

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade are celebrating their "wildly inspiring" transgender daughter after being selected as part of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020 list.

The retired NBA superstar and the actor and author spoke about their daughter Zaya, who turned 13 in June with an epic medieval-themed party, in a video accompanying the story about their selection.

Dwyane Wade and wife Gabrielle Union accompanied his daughter Zaya on the red carpet for the 2020 Truth Awards in Los Angeles.Andrew Toth / Getty Images

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"Freedom exists in so many different forms," Union says in the video. "We are so blessed to be in a household where we have free children.

"It's beautiful to watch truly free children. We have another daughter who is 13 who has the freedom to be exactly who she is, who she was born to be, to be her most authentic self. She doesn't ask permission to exist. That is wildly inspiring."

Union's embrace of her stepdaughter and others earned praise from Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, in an essay in TIME accompanying their selection.

Burke wrote that Union is "intentionally directing her attention, influence and resources to advance an agenda that deliberately celebrates the most marginalized among us, including Black women and girls and queer and trans folks."

The couple has publicly shown their support for Zaya after Wade revealed on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in February that she had come out as transgender.

“Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home — I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion; Zion, born as a boy — came home and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys," he said on the show. "I think going forward, and I’m ready to live my truth. And I want to be referenced as she and her. I’d love for you guys to call me Zaya.'"

The couple embraced Zaya's choice, accompanying her on the red carpet in March for the Truth Awards, an annual event that celebrates members and allies of the Black LGBTQ+ community.

"To echo my wife, I'm inspired by our kids," Wade said in the TIME video. "The way they look at us, the way they look to us for leadership, for guidance, for their moments of bravery."

Wade and Union also praised their daughter while presenting an award during the GLAAD Media Awards in July.

"We stand as allies with the LGBTQ+ community as proud parents of a transgender child," Wade said on the broadcast. "Our daughter Zaya is leading us in our journey, and we’re doing all we can to give every one of our kids the ability to live their truth."

Union and Wade are parents to four children - their 1-year-old daughter, Kaavia, as well as the three children from Wade's previous relationships — Zaire, 18, Zaya and Xavier, 6.

Zaire wrote a heartfelt letter on Instagram supporting his sister after Wade shared that she had come out as transgender.

"I have been blessed to have my best friend, Zaya with me for 12 years," he wrote. "We did everything together...we fought, we played, we laughed and we cried. But the one thing we never did was leave each other behind...

"I’ve told you that I would lay my life down to make sure you are ten toes down and happy on this earth. I don’t care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there’s no love lost on this side."