Gabrielle Union Discusses Playing Homophobic Character While Raising Transgender Daughter
Actress Gabrielle Union has opened up about playing a homophobic character in the upcoming drama film “The Inspection.”
The film’s portrayal of her character and Union’s personal experience of raising a transgender daughter contrasted deeply, which made her opine that she shared no similarity with her character. However, the actor was able to “find common ground” with her persona and provide all to the role that was required.
Union said that she has no intention of rejecting any of her children while expressing her disgust toward homophobes. Through their foundation, the actress and her husband, Dwyane Wade, are passionate advocates for the LGBTQ+ community.
Read below for more details.
Gabrielle Union Found ‘Common Space’ With Her Homophobic Character
In an interview with People that aired on Friday, the award-winning Hollywood star recalled the details around her decision to play the role of Inez French in the upcoming movie “The Inspection,” which also stars her as an executive producer.
Her character is a mother who fails to accept the reality that her son, Ellis French(Jeremy Pope), is gay, a stark contrast to Union’s reaction when her daughter Zaya Wade, 15, came out as transgender in February 2020.
Union said that she did not initially find any similarities between herself and Inez. Elegance Bratton, the film’s director, encouraged her to take on the role, helping her to find her “common space” with the character and the “darkness” necessary for the part.
She added about playing the part, “It’s not going to manifest itself in the same way, but when you are centering an oppressor’s idea of who you need to be to be considered worthy of all of the things, everybody is on the chopping block.”
‘I Always Look At Homophobes As Trash’
Though she portrayed a character whom some might tag as LGBTQ+ intolerant at the onset of the film, Union appeared to share that that was never the situation with herself and her daughter and also expressed her distastes for people with prejudice against LGBTQ+ people:
“I always look at homophobes as trash. ‘Google is free, and I’m not doing free labor for you to figure out how to love your kid,” she said.
Ellis joined the marines after his mother, Inez, disowned him in the movie. The actress expressed her opinion that although being able to relate to Inez’s decision to part ways with Ellis, such a story would never be the case for her.
She added: “I’m never going to reject my child. My child none of my children are disposable. But I get the deep desire to be seen as worthy, and anything that threatens that can go, and for some people, that includes their children.”
Gabrielle Union Said Daughter Zaya’s Coming Out Was A Learning Moment
Union seems to have it all figured out when it comes to raising an LGBTQ+ child based on her outspokenness. However, when Zaya came out as trans, first to her family and then to the public, the actress recognized she needed assistance since she didn’t know what to do.
“I didn’t have many resources, so I just reached out to everyone I knew from social media,” recounted Union in an exclusive with People in April 2021. “Everyone responded with love, resources and information.”
The actress continued by saying that Wade and she both learned from the experience, as they had earlier acknowledged the high chances of making mistakes while relating with their daughter.
“We weren’t coming into it like it’s got to be our way,” she says. “We’re going to mess up. We’re going to say the wrong thing. But we had to learn and be led.”
‘Our Home Will Never Be A Safe Space For Bigots’
Union and her husband Wade actively combat the stigma that members of the LGBTQ+ community may experience from cisgender people through their Wade Family Foundation. Naturally, her home is void of ideals that would prevent her children, such as Zaya, from being “exactly who they are.”
“Our home will never be a safe space for bigots,” told the publication. “I look at problematic language as violence, and I’m never going to expose anyone I love to violence, whether that be verbal, physical, emotional or spiritual. Jerks exist in every area of life. And we function from a place of truth in our household. But if you come at us, oh, be very prepared.”
Union and Wade exchanged vows in 2014, and the pair welcomed their only daughter Kaavia, who was delivered via surrogate in 2018. In addition, Wade’s other three children, including Zaya, have the actress as their stepmother.