Gabrielle Union's Hairstylist, Larry Sims On Zaya Wade and His Own Trans Sister's Painful Journey

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat poses for a photo with his wife, Gabrielle Union, nephew, Dahveon Morris, and children, Kaavia James Union Wade, Zaire Wade, Xavier Wade and  Zion Wade after his final career home game at American Airlines Arena on April 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Gabrielle Union's Hairstylist, Larry Sims On Zaya Wade and His Own Trans Sister's Painful Journey

"I love and admire and respect what Gabrielle and Dwayne are doing.”

Published February 19, 2020

Written by Alexis Reese

Highly praised for his talents in Black Hollywood, celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims recently took to social media to open up about his own experience of what it’s like to love and support a trans sibling. 

According to an interview with People, during the early stages of his hairstyling career, Sims also worked as a backup dancer for Jessica Simpson. He met actress/activist Gabrielle Union shortly after when the two met on set of the iconic cheerleading movie “Bring it On,” where Union first asked him to do her hair. The two hit it off as Union and Sims have been connected professionally and personally ever since.

In light of the recent conversation around Union’s step-daughter, Zaya Wade, with husband, Dwyane Wade, and Zaya’s decision to identify using the pronouns, she/her, Sims took to his Instagram to let his 100,000 followers know that he stands firmly by the family’s side.

The famed hairstylist poignantly reflects on his childhood where he detailed that his sister grew up in a household where their stepfather was not accepting of her transition. Even with the tragic life that lay ahead for her, Sims’ face visibly lit up once he began reminiscing about how strikingly beautiful his middle sister was and how she naturally began to identify as female. 

“I admired her. I watched her get dressed and would be in awe of how beautiful, how stylish, and how fly she became,” he said. 

Sims’ sister was supported and loved unconditionally by their mother, despite the rigid division they all had with their stepfather, who was not approving of his sister’s lifestyle.

“[He] would beat her, literally. And punched her, like she was a punching bag,” recounted. 

The continuous abuse would eventually scar the entire family and Sims’ sister would soon leave her family nest for the streets, “she had to find her tribe,” he said. In 2002, after becoming victim to drugs and prostitution, Sims’ sister would have an untimely death after being shot in the back on the west side of Chicago, by way of drugs, he would explain. 

After letting out the raw timeline about his sister, Sims’ pondered on what her life could have been had she received the type of unwavering support from her step-father as Union and Wade have given to Zaya.

“If she had loving parents, excluding my mother, who collectively loved her where she felt safe at home, maybe she wouldn’t have left at such an early age,” he said. “Maybe she wouldn’t have found the love she was looking for in our home … in the streets.” 

According to the Human Right Campaign, in 2019, at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means.If that’s not disturbing enough, 91% of those people were Black women, 81% were under the age of 30 and 68% lived in the South.

Sims praised the Wade’s for not only accepting Zaya as their daughter but going public with her story. “I love and admire and respect what Gabrielle and Dwayne are doing for our dear Zaya. You guys are keeping her safe. You are showering her with love,” he applauded. 

“You are allowing her to know that she is protected unconditionally. And she is also surrounded by a bunch of uncles and aunties and brothers that love her unconditionally that will ride for her. That will root for her.”

(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)


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