At just 12-years-old, Dwyane Wade’s daughter and Gabrielle Union’s stepdaughter Zaya Wade made a monumental announcement to the world when she came out as transgender. The parents faced a wave of backlash as Zaya’s decision was debated from one side of the globe to the other, but the Wades have remained solid as they have supported the now-14-year-old and the LGBTQIA+ community.
The Wades have continuously spoken out about their journey as a family, and today (May 11), PEOPLE published a new joint interview with Union and Zaya as they speak about “hateful comments” as well as the “detrimental beauty advice” that has been shared on social media. It was all a part of the Dove Self-Esteem Project’s #DetoxYourFeed.
“As a trans person, once I came out, there was a lot of hateful comments about how I should grow my hair out long or fit into a certain version of femininity, even though that’s not true at all,” said Zaya. “That kind of advice is just trying to break you, but don’t let it.” She has also gleaned wisdom from her stepmother.
“Her telling me that not everyone in the world and in the media is going to be truthful about what you look like,” Zaya added. “I don’t have to believe everything they say. The only thing I have to believe is what I feel and what beauty means to me,” she continues. “I think focusing on inner beauty is the most important.”
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Union said that she and Wade do their best to teach the truth about the portrayal of beauty standards. “You can be a ‘stunner’ or ‘classically beautiful person’ but if your soul is rotten, you are not very beautiful at all. We try to stress character, compassion, love, acceptance and joy. That hopefully radiates from the inside out. When it comes to how she moves through the world, we try to stress there is no one way to be a woman or to be feminine.”
“There are a billion ways to exist because there are billions of people and each person has the ability to decide for themselves how they want to exist in the world and how they want to move through the world,” Union added. “We talk to her about resisting anti-Blackness and not centering Eurocentric beauty ideals.”
Check out more from Zaya Wade below.