Dwyane Wade recalls what he said to his 12-year-old when she came out as transgender

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Dwyane Wade is opening up about how he’s supporting his 12-year-old daughter, who is transgender, so she can “be her best self.”

The retired basketball star appeared on Tuesday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the host applauded him for “unconditionally loving” Zaya and embracing her gender identity.

(Screenshot: Gabrielle Union via Instagram)
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union with daughters Kaavia and Zaya. (Screenshot: Gabrielle Union via Instagram)

“Me and my wife, my wife Gabrielle Union, we are ... proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community — and we're proud allies as well," he replied. "We take our roles and responsibility as parents very seriously."

He continued, “So when our child comes home with a question, when a child comes home with an issue, when a child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can, to give them the best feedback that we can — and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”

He opened up about Zaya coming out as transgender and asking them to call her by her new name and use she/her pronouns.

“Once Zaya ... came home — I don’t know if everyone knows, [she was] originally named Zion, born as a boy — came home and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.’”

He said that their job as parents was to then “go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have — my wife reached out to everybody on the cast of Pose — we’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.”

Wade said that when Zaya came out to him, he said, “‘You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice.’ Right now it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her.”

Last year, Zaya and her stepmother Union attended Miami Pride — appearing on a float together. Wade, who was still playing basketball and was on the road, shared a photo of them there, writing, “We support each other with Pride.”

Shortly after, Wade said he had no time for homophobic comments or haters, saying, “I don’t really talk about it much... I think as a family, we should support each other. That’s our job. And my job as a father is to facilitate their lives and to support them and be behind them in whatever they want to do.”

This past fall, when more hateful comments were posted after Zaya was photographed with fake nails and wearing a crop top, Wade responded by writing, “As a parent my only goal is that my kids feel that i see them, love them and support them.”

Around that time, Wade and Union launched a T-shirt range to support LGTBQ youth — and their family modeled them together.

Wade is dad to four children: Zaire and Zaya from his first marriage, Xavier with an ex and Kaavia with second wife Union. He and Union are also raising his nephew, Dahveon.

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