In recent years, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have been at the forefront of change in their respective industries. Union was fired from her job as a judge on America’s Got Talent in 2019 after calling out the racism she experienced behind the scenes. Wade has been a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement for years and wants to see equality in basketball and everywhere else.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade fight for marginalized communities
In a recent interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell, Gabrielle Union discussed how she almost ended up becoming a lawyer. “I love being on the right side of history. I love fighting for the underdog,” Union said. “I’ve always believed that there’s a right and a wrong way to do things and that justice can come in many forms, and I’ve always wanted to be on the right side of history and the right side of justice and fighting the good fight.”
Both Union and Wade have been longtime advocates for racial justice, and Wade was calling out discrimination years before basketball players and courts were branded with the words “Black Lives Matter” as they are today. In 2016, Wade — along with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul — made a powerful speech at the ESPYs about racial profiling and violence. Earlier this year, Wade reiterated his support of the cause by dying his hair in the shape of the Black Power fist.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade had to educate themselves on trans issues
Although Union and Wade have been outspoken on issues of race, they admit that they were not as aware of the problems facing the LGBTQ community today. It hit home for them when their daughter Zaya came out to them as trans.
Union and Wade began to educate themselves on what it means to be trans and how to create the best possible environment for a trans child to flourish. They ended up calling in some help: the stars of Ryan Murphy’s groundbreaking FX series Pose.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union take their ‘roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously’
Wade first discussed the process he and Union were going through in an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in February 2020. “We are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re proud allies as well,” he said. “We take our roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously… So internally it’s our job to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have.”
Union reached out to the cast of Pose to “figure out as much information as we can to help our child be her best self,” Wade added. Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Angelica Ross, Dominique Jackson, and Hailie Sahar made history in 2018 when Pose premiered as the first show ever with five trans cast members in lead roles.
Wade elaborated on his experience in an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. “We wanted to make sure that we got all the pronouns right, we wanted to make sure that we got all the language right, so we reached out to make sure that we had all the information that we needed because we are learning in this process as well,” he said.
Union opened up about raising Zaya in a recent interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell on her web show No Filter with Naomi. “What we’ve realized through our very public journey is that us loving our children unconditionally has inspired other people to love their children unconditionally,” she said. “It doesn’t mean you have all the answers or you’re going to get everything right, but it’s step 1.”
The cast of ‘Pose’ was happy to help Union and Wade
Naturally, the stars of Pose were happy to help Union and Wade and ensure that Zaya was surrounded by nothing but love, acceptance, and affirmation. “I was so touched when @itsgabrielleu reached out!” Ross tweeted. “BOTH she and @DwyaneWade are so committed to getting it right as parents.”
Lead actress Mj Rodriguez expressed a similar sentiment at the 2020 MAKERS Conference a few days later. “I think it’s great that a young father who is African American is shedding light on their child because so many African American individuals get this stigma that there is no love in the community, that there is no acceptance in the community, and in reality there is,” she said. “It’s just that it’s not seen on a broad scale, and it’s unfortunate.”
“This was a complete step forward,” Rodriguez smiled. “I just think it’s amazing that he has a wonderful wife behind him that is supporting their child.”