Story at a glance
- Former basketball player Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union are raising five children together, including Wade’s nephew.
- In an interview with People magazine, the couple talked about parenting and their new children’s book, “Shady Baby,” inspired by their youngest daughter.
- Last year, their daughter Zaya came out publicly as transgender.
Zaya was 3 years old when Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade realized they would have a lot to learn as parents.
"I come from a locker room of a macho, male-dominant sport. But I started learning and I started to watch her. And from then on we started having more conversations," Wade told People in an exclusive interview.
"I was raised to assimilate," Union told People. "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 shape shift for anyone else's approval or acceptance. We want them to be free to be who they are."
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After coming out as transgender last year, the now 13-year-old is coming into her own.
"When I look at Zaya, I get hope," said Wade. "Because I'm like, okay, we raised [our kids] to be authentic."
"We want to make sure [our kids] feel strong and supported and free to be exactly who they are," Union told People ahead of the release of the couple’s new book, “Shady Baby,” inspired by their two-year-old Kaavia James. "What I love about our home is that everybody is unique. And we allow their uniqueness to shine."
Both Wade and Union are active on social media and have used their platforms, including the Wade World Foundation, to advocate for transgender rights, which are currently under attack in several states that have introduced anti-transgender bills banning youth from participating in sports and barring them from accessing gender-affirming care.
"We're raising Black kids and every day in the world, they show us what we're thought of," Wade told People. "You realize you can't protect them from everything. The only thing you can do is make sure they go out into the world with all the tools they need."
Still, the family has made it clear they will not tolerate hate.
"Our home will never be a safe space for bigots," says Union. "I look at problematic language as violence and I'm never going to expose anyone I love to violence, whether that be verbal, physical, emotional or spiritual. Jerks exist in every area of life. And we function from a place of truth in our household. But if you come at us, oh, be very prepared."
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