Gabrielle Union on How Zaya Felt Outed by a Photo: Her "Peace Is Nonnegotiable"

Gabrielle Union is opening up about how her 13-year-old stepdaughter, Zaya, felt outed by a photo that was shared on social media. While speaking with Taraji P. Henson in the first episode of Facebook Watch's Peace of Mind With Taraji, Gabrielle discussed the importance of mental health as well as the conversations she and her husband, Dwyane Wade, have been having with Zaya, who identifies as transgender.

"I want [my girls] to be at peace and I want them to know and feel and give love," Gabrielle said. "And so we had to figure out how to create that in our extended family home. Zaya's peace is nonnegotiable. As Zaya gathered more language, she was able to tell us about her identity. She was able to tell us about her sexuality. She was able to tell us, 'I'm trans.' And she says, 'I've come out a few times . . . I came out to my teacher in the third grade, and then when you guys posted that picture of me in Chicago at my birthday party.' And it's just Zaya standing next to her cake."

She continued, noting how the photo sparked speculation on the internet, which made Zaya feel uncomfortable. "That picture was dissected on certain Black blogs and the comments were guessing as to who Zaya was and why . . . she said, 'I felt like I was outed and I was just standing next to my cake,'" Gabrielle explained.

Gabrielle and Dwyane regularly have open discussions with Zaya about her identity. Most recently, Zaya explained that she's demisexual, which means she can't feel any sexual attraction with a person without an established emotional connection first. "She spoke of coming out again when she was like, 'I'm trans. I'm demisexual. I'm not bound by gender in terms of attraction,'" Gabrielle said. "When Zaya asked for a demi flag . . . for her birthday and [Dwyane] was like, 'Do you know what that is?' And I was like, 'No.' And so we're like, 'Yeah, no problem. We're right on that!'"

To get a better understanding of his daughter's sexual preference and gender identity, Dwyane asked Zaya if she was still trans. "Zaya was like, 'Identity is not the same as sexuality is not the same as gender expression,'" explained Gabrielle, whose reaction suggested she and Dwyane still have a lot to learn. "We only know what we know, and you have to be open to embrace that we don't know."