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Gabrielle Union's 'You Got Anything Stronger' Explores Motherhood, Aging And Life In Miami

Gabrielle Union
Dey Street Books
Gabrielle Union's second memoir examines her miscarriages, her daughter's gender transition and her life in Miami

Actress and activist Gabrielle Union is out with her second memoir. She will be in conversation with her partner, former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, in Miami this weekend.

Gabrielle Union has established herself as one of the premier film and television actresses. Union is also an outspoken activist for LGBTQ rights and for survivors of sexual trauma. Her second memoir, “You Got Anything Stronger” is available now.

She will be in conversation with her partner, and former Miami Heat star, Dwyane Wade at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts Saturday, Sept. 18.

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She spoke with Luis Hernandez on Sundial about the new book and her time spent in Miami.

Below is an excerpt of their conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity.

WLRN: Your passion and commitment as a mother intersects with your activism, especially with your daughter Zaya. She was assigned male at birth before she transitioned and announced her new name and pronouns. First it was to you and the family before she went public. What was that process like for you and Dwyane Wade to understand her relationship with gender and your own understanding of gender?

UNION: Oh, gosh. What it did was reveal how much we didn't know and how much we needed to unlearn. How invested we all seem to be in the patriarchy. And we all had to learn how to sort of divest from some of those older ways of thinking that had just been completely toxic and problematic and not accurate. So, you know, understanding the difference between gender and genitals. You know, gender expression and sexuality and identity, all of these things are vastly different.

You joined Zaya at Miami Beach Pride. Of course, being there for support. But what was it like for you watching her as she did go public and then how the public reacted?

I had no idea that she had any kind of dreams about going to Pride. So it just so happened that I was calling to make a reservation for this drag show brunch that this restaurant does in Wynwood every Sunday. And when I called to make the reservation, they were like, "This is so wild, you know, would you ever be interested in joining us for Pride? We have a float every year, and this year's theme is 'Bring It On.' And here you are calling. So we've got to ask."

I was like, well, you know, I have a date, so let me ask my date. So I asked [Zaya], "Would you would you want to go to Pride and be on a float?" And she [Zaya] was like, "Oh my God, I always wanted to go to Pride." I was like, "What? You've never said that." I've gone to Pride all over the world. My first Pride was at eight years old when we moved to California and my mom took us. And [she] got us buttons that said straight but not narrow-minded with a little arrow pointing to our heart.

So, you know, Pride has always been a part of my life. And I just, I'd never thought that Zaya was interested or, you know, even was aware of it. So to see her, joy and passion about going, I was like, absolutely. We're going to go.

Matias Ocner/Miami Herald
Dwyane Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union, get ready to participate in the D.Wade Community Bike Ride at Regatta Park in Coconut Grove on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. Dwayne Wade led the 6-mile bike ride, which aimed to bring the community together.

You spent a lot of time, because of your career, between Miami and Los Angeles. But I wondered how this city [Miami] became part of your identity?

I think, you know, because I became such a fixture in the arena and became such a part of Heat Nation and with my husband, Wade County and all. But long before that, I, I was Syd Burnett [in Bad Boys II] you know, angering people on both sides of the causeway. Shutting down the MacArthur Causeway.

Having weeks off at a time, I just got in my little rental car and I would explore different neighborhoods. And try different restaurants and practice my Spanish and just really immerse myself in the culture. And I just fell in love. I fell in love during those six months that we were filming "Bad Boys II" in Miami, all those years ago.

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.