I don’t have anything particularly extraordinary to say about Zaya, who shared an incredible message on mom Gabrielle Union’s Instagram this week about staying true to herself and her gender identity, despite what critics or societal standards might demand of young people like her.
In a now widely-circulated Twitter video shared Tuesday, Zaya explained to Union and the camera: “What’s the point of being on this Earth if you’re going to try and be someone you’re not? It’s like you’re not even living as yourself, which is the dumbest concept to me.”
And she was right! There is no point in being someone you’re not, only shame and heartbreak and misery—things so many trans people experience on their journeys through life. I remember thinking that myself at 12, wishing I lived in a world where the incredibly strict, and often violent, restrictions around me would let me finally be who I was, and who I wanted to become. And it’s only been 12 years since I was Zaya’s age! So much has changed since then, and my heart is full of so much love for the next generation of kids.
The world is, at times, more accepting than it once was. But rights and protections for trans people are eroding swiftly in this country, and with them, the future so many trans people have lived and fought and died for in this incredibly narrow window in history. I look at kids like Zaya and imagine the possibilities of a future where they can be who they want to be, unburdened by the bullshit that so often accompanies being trans in the world right now. But, that future is also a moving target, one that must be actively chased and safeguarded by those of us with the power to protect this next generation of kids.
Her parents, Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade, seem to have the right idea about what must happen next, clearly working in tandem with Zaya on what she needs, and wants, out of this experience. Especially when sharing it with the public! Speaking to ET at the premiere of his documentary D. Wade, Wade said:
“We’re not the only family that’s had to deal with gender expression, gender identity, sexuality, with their child. We understand the position we’ve been put in, especially in our community, and even though it’s not always a popular thing to speak out on issues that people are uncomfortable with or not as educated on, but this is the platform that God gave me and my family. So, we use it.”
I just hope that somewhere, a parent or sibling or teacher or legislator is hearing this, and understanding what they must do next. [ET]
In vastly less important news, Orlando Bloom misspelled his son’s name in a tattoo. When pressed for comment, his tattoo artist said: “It will be fixed!” [Page Six]