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'There's No One Way to Be a Woman,' Says Gabrielle Union in Support of Her Trans Daughter

Illustration for article titled Theres No One Way to Be a Woman, Says Gabrielle Union in Support of Her Trans Daughter
Photo: Getty

Eat it, MichFest attendees in exile!!

In her new Self magazine cover story, Gabrielle Union opens up about raising Zaya Wade, her 13-year-old stepdaughter with husband Dwyane Wade. The Being Mary Jane star also shares some very helpful advice on how cis parents can best support their trans kids.

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“You can lead with humility,” said Union when asked what she’d tell other parents who want to support their LGBTQ kids but don’t know where to begin. “You can legit say, ‘Okay, I don’t have all the answers, but what I do know is that I love you, and I’m going to be on this journey with you, and we’re going to learn together.’”

Parenting Zaya—who, along with the rest of her family, publicly announced her new name and pronouns earlier this year—also prompted Union to reexamine her ideas about gender and expression. For example, the actress tried to teach her daughter how to shave her armpits, a feminine rite of passage that her own mother had taught her when she was Zaya’s age. Zaya, who shot the cover btw(!!), pushed back, pointing out that not all women shave their pits.

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“There’s no one way to be a woman,” Union told the mag. “There’s no one way to be a Black woman. There’s no one way to be beautiful. There’s no one way to dress or to love your body.”

“You are a woman because you are,” she continued. “Because that is your identity.”

For more reading on what it’s like to parent a trans kid (that doesn’t make you feel like you got vommed on at the Feast of St. Garbage), check out journalist Katelyn Burns’ excellent new feature on New York’s Gender and Family Project, which The Guardian published earlier this week.

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Noname has responded to J. Cole’s baffling, flaccid diss track with a much better diss track of her own.

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Rather than get bogged down in refuting Mr. I Haven’t Done a Lot of Reading’s misogynistic and projection-heavy personal attacks, one by one, Noname refocuses listeners’ attention on the Black Lives Matter protests, police brutality, the alarming levels of violence against Black trans women, and other matters that are far more urgent than one man feeling insecure about a woman being smarter than him.

“Little did I know all my reading would be a bother,” she says on “Song 33,” which, per Vulture, was produced by Madlib. “It’s trans women being murdered and this is all he can offer? / And this is all y’all receive? / Distracting from the convo with organizers / They talking abolishing the police / And this the new world order / We democratizing Amazon, we burn down borders.”

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Listen to the full song below.


  • A woman on Twitter has accused Ansel Elgort of sexually assaulting her when she was 17. [Twitter]
  • Ian Holm, the actor who played Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, died on Friday. He was 88. [Variety]
  • Kim Petras has opened up about transitioning in the public eye, calling the late-aughts media coverage of her gender confirmation surgery, which often reduced her down to epithets like “the world’s youngest transsexual,” dehumanizing and cruel. “It was a weird experience and minimized me to my genitals,” the singer said. “That’s disgusting. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.” [Pink News]
  • “On this Juneteenth 2020, I’m thinking about freedom,” says Laverne Cox in an Instagram video promoting Disclosure, the new Netflix documentary about trans representation. The actress then quotes James Baldwin: Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.” [Instagram]

Freelance journalist (GQ, Esquire, Out, elsewhere), here on weekends

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DISCUSSION

MilaGarak
Mila Garak

I’m guessing the main reason Zaya took these photos was because of stay at home orders and social distancing, but that girl is talented! I wonder if she’s thinking of a career in photography or art, because she has a great eye.