Retired NBA star Dwyane Wade spoke candidly Tuesday about his 12-year-old child coming out as transgender on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” telling the talk show host that Zaya is “our leader.”
Wade, an outspoken supporter of Zaya, told DeGeneres he and his wife were proud of Zaya’s actions.
“First of all, me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud, when I say proud, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community,” Wade said in a clip posted Tuesday to the YouTube channel for Degeneres’ talk show. “And we’re proud allies as well. And we take our roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously.”
DeGeneres said Wade’s unconditional support and love should be how all parents should react.
“There are so many parents,” DeGeneres said, who “freak out” when their children “don’t go the way” they imagined, NBC News reported.
Wade told DeGeneres he remembered exactly what Zaya said when she came out as transgender.
“So once Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home — first Zion, I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion, born as a boy — came home and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth,'” Wade told DeGeneres. “‘And I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.'”
Wade remembers his response.
“I looked at her and said, ‘You are our leader. You are our leader and it’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice.’ Right now it’s through us because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it would be through her.”
Union, who is Zaya’s stepmother, posted a video on Twitter that demonstrates the child’s strong voice, the Los Angeles Times reported. Wade and Zaya were riding in a golf cart while she explained her philosophy.
“What’s the point in being on this Earth if you’re gonna try to be someone you’re not,” Zaya said. “It’s like you’re not even living as yourself, which is like the dumbest concept to me. Just be true and don’t really care what the ‘stereotypical way’ of being you is. … I think you push through and you be the best you.”
Last spring, Zaya (then known as Zion) marched at Miami Beach Pride with Union and older brother Zaire, the Times reported.
In December, Wade used the pronoun she in reference to Zaya, the newspaper reported.
“We take our roles and responsibility as parents very seriously,” Wade told DeGeneres. “So when our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”