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Gabrielle Union praises stepdaughter Zaya for being her ‘most authentic self’

Gabrielle Union (Photo credit: Nancy Rivera / Splash News)

Gabrielle Union is “inspired” by her stepdaughter Zaya.

The Bring It On star praised her 13-year-old stepdaughter — whose father is Gabrielle’s husband, Dwyane Wade — for being her “most authentic self” after being assigned male at birth and coming out as transgender earlier this year.

Speaking about Zaya, as well as her 23-month-old biological daughter Kaavia, Union said: “Freedom exists in so many different forms, but we are so blessed to be in a household where we have free children. We have a daughter that is almost 2, that the world has seen, is bound to nothing but whatever is in her heart and on her soul at the moment. And it’s beautiful to watch truly free children.

“We have another daughter who is 13, who has the freedom to be exactly who she is, who she was born to be, to be her most authentic self. She doesn’t ask permission to exist. It’s wildly inspiring.”

And Wade — who is father to Kaavia and Zaya, as well as two sons, Zaire, 18, and Xavier, 6, from a previous relationship — is equally as inspired by his brood.

He added during a joint profile for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people list for 2020: “To echo my wife, I’m inspired by our kids. The way they look at us, the way they look to us, for leadership and guidance, for their moments of bravery.”

Union and Wade also spoke to “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, about being honored by Time, where they said it feels strange for them to be receiving praise for being so supportive of Zaya.

The 47-year-old actress said: “We’re still kind of getting used to being recognized for doing things that have really kind of come naturally like loving your kids as they are. It’s just weird to get credit for that. [Some people just] needed to see other families just love their children out loud, unapologetically.”

While Wade, 38, explained: “She’s helped us see, you know, life differently, and I’m thankful for her. She’s allowed me to be informed where I can help, you know, in the same process. Right now it’s a lot of people in the Black community that that will not accept someone of transgender, you know, and look at them as different and not worthy. Not worthy of life.”