Trans youth icon Zaya Wade recently opened up about what she thinks many non-LGBTQ adults don’t understand about being part of the LGBTQ community.
“I honestly wish that a lot of adults understood and did not invalidate how confusing, uncomfortable and kind of abrupt, but also how beautiful being a part of any LGBTQ+ community is,” Wade said in an Instagram Live interview with Teen Vogue and Zach Koung, a youth ambassador for the It Gets Better Project.
“I do think there is ‘Oh you’re just going through this’ or ‘Oh it’s fine’ – there is a lot of invalidation of what you’re going through, even if they do accept you as trans.”
14-year-old Wade – the daughter of basketball star Dwyane Wade – also spoke about the pressure and privilege of representing her community as a public figure.
“The expectation for anyone who has to represent the LGBTQ+ community is a lot and there is a lot of pressure there. Having someone or a group of people really helps me see the positives, while also recognizing the negatives, and rise above them because I am me and no one is going to tell me otherwise anymore.”
Wade spoke alongside the history-making trans Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider, who spoke about the responsibility she felt while on the show “to be my best self and represent the trans community well.”
She added, “I was also worried about that in the sense that I don’t want to present a ‘too perfect’ image of myself because I want everyone to be able to see that whether or not you are good at trivia, whether or not you have a lot of followers on social media, any of those things, you still deserve and can find the same acceptance, the same affirmation and freedom to accept who you are.”
The It Gets Better Project is currently taking applications from students and faculty for its “50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices” grants, which provide $10,000 for projects that will make their schools better for LGBTQ students. Applications are due March 15.