Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade were announced as two of the people included in this year’s Time100 list of the most influential individuals on Tuesday. According to Union, however, the recognition is something that’s been difficult to grasp.
“We’re still kind of getting used to being recognized for just doing things that have really kind of come naturally like loving your kids as they are, which is weird to get credit for that,” she told Good Morning America in a segment where it was revealed that the couple has been included for their advocacy work when it comes to Black Lives Matter and their support of their daughter, 13-year-old Zaya, who came out as transgender earlier this year.
Union and Wade have publicly showed their support for Zaya since the retired NBA player announced his child’s decision to use she/her pronouns during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in February. Wade has also been outspoken about he and his wife’s efforts to learn more about the LGBTQ community, reaching out to friends and different resources to find out how to be advocates. Still, Wade says that they’ve learned the most from Zaya herself.
“She’s helped us see life differently and I’m thankful for her,” he shared. “She’s allowed me to be informed where I can help others in this same process.”
In doing so, the couple admitted to having dealt with a lot of hate. “The level of hate based off of like everything but the facts,” Union said. Wade added, “It’s a lot of people in the Black community that would not accept someone of transgender community. And look at them as different and not worthy of. Not worthy of life.”
While fighting for justice for the Black community as vocal advocates for the Black Lives Matter movement, Union explained that you can’t be an ally for one and not the other.
“When you are in the fight for equality you have to embrace every life as being worthy of and deserving of equality. You can’t pick and choose,” she said.
As the couple continues to “lead with love,” they’ve learned that simply showing their support for their LGBTQ family member has had an immeasurable impact on others. “We hear from a lot of families who are like, I just didn’t think to love them. Which sounds wild, right?” Union said. “They needed to see other families just loving their children out loud, unapologetically.”
Although they’re being recognized for doing so, Wade admittedly is just in the process of finding his voice. “I am not perfect, I do not know everything,” he said. Union, on the other hand, said that she’s come to be outspoken about the things that she cares about simply from age. “I hit my forties and I was like, I’m gonna live my own life and I’m gonna speak truth to power every chance I get,” she said.
As a family with the goal “to be of service to anyone that is in need,” the couple also shared that it takes a lot of internal work as well. “A lot of therapy,” Wade said. “When you are of service, you deal with a lot of things outside of dealing with just yourself. So if you don’t deal with yourself first, you have no chance of leading.”
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