Zaya Wade knows that beauty standards are nonsense, thanks to supportive stepmom, Gabrielle Union.
“Beauty is in yourself,” Zaya, 15, told DAZED of what Union has relayed to her. “It’s about being you and expressing yourself the way you want to. She tries to teach me that beauty standards are arbitrary and that they don’t mean anything. They don’t matter anymore; what people thought was the standard is not. And just that being myself is the best technique out there.”
In fact, Zaya has found support in her entire family, including father Dwyane Wade, who went to battle with Zaya’s biological mother in an effort to legally change the teen’s gender and name, which was approved by a Los Angeles county judge last month.
“They are such a giant support system and have always been there for me,” Zaya said of her family’s support of her transition. “No matter what happens, I feel strongest when I’m with them.”
She added, “So many big changes have happened over the last couple of years with me, but also just in general. I think it’s not my job, but it’s my honor to continue and further my family’s education and appreciation for the entire LBGTQ+ community as we grow together.”
Both Wade, 51, and Union, 50, were honored with the President’s Award at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards last month, using their acceptance speech to rally behind the Black trans community.
“This is a conversation worth having in ways that can actually build bridges,” Union told the audience. “That don’t fan the flames of hatred or division. That don’t enable law makers or justice systems to look the other way when Black trans people are under attack. That don’t drive more young people to hate themselves or harm themselves. That don’t cost people their lives.”
“We are hopeful that we may witness a real shift in the fight for justice, the moment the movement makes room for everyone,” she concluded.