In a recent interview, Hollywood power couple Gabby Union and Dwayne Wade opened up about their experience as parents as they navigated 13-year-old Zaya Wade coming out as transgender. According to the actress, one of the first things she did was to reach out to people via social media in order to become educated on trans identity.
As the cover stars of PEOPLE’s latest issue, Union and Wade discussed everything in their realm of parenting — from the release of their latest children’s book inspired by their daughter Kaavia, to what it’s like raising five Black kids in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. That being said, in a video clip feature from the spread, when talking about Zaya, Wade’s daughter from a previous marriage, Union said when the child came out as trans both she and Wade needed to become more informed so admittedly, she reached out to “everyone” she knew that was trans-identifying on her social media to learn more.
“When it became apparent that Zaya might be perhaps a part of the LGBTQIA community we had to learn more,” Union told PEOPLE as she sat next to Wade. “I was pretty well versed in most things but as she got older and once she identified as trans, I didn’t have as many resources and people that I knew personally.”
“So I just reached out to everyone that I knew from my Instagram list and social media,” she continued. “When I say everyone responded with love, resources, information — literally connecting us with different organizations — and it was pure love.”
Discussing how people reacted to her reaching out to them to get information on trans identity, and further speaking on how she and Wade handled that time, she told the outlet, “I think what people responded to is that we weren’t coming into it like ‘We’ve got all the answers,’ or ‘It’s got to be our way.’ It was like ‘We’re gonna mess up, we’re gonna say the wrong thing — please read us for filth because you should, and we should just take it and learn instead of being sensitive Sallys. We gotta just listen and humble ourselves and be led.’ So that’s pretty much what we did.”
In the accompanying written feature story, Wade relevantly added, “My focus when it comes to any of my kids is to let them know who they are so that when other people’s opinions about them are formed, it’s not hitting them.” Later, he continued, “If we allow our kids to be their true selves, we don’t have to worry about them conforming with anything or anyone. Why wouldn’t we push our kids to be their authentic selves?”
Union added to Wade’s point by sharing, “I was raised to assimilate. I was raised to conform. But we are raising our kids to know they are worthy because they exist. We don’t want them to ever shapeshift for anyone else’s approval or acceptance. We want them to be free to be who they are.”
In addition to Kaavia, 2, and Zaya, Union and Wade also parent the latter’s sons, Zaire, 19, Xavier, 7, and his nephew, Dahveon, 19.