Dwyane Wade Talks 12-Year-Old’s Gender Identity: 'We Are Proud Parents of a Child in the LGBTQ+ Community'
By Paige Gawley
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Dwyane Wade is a proud dad. The 38-year-old former NBA star stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday and opens up about supporting his 12-year-old child, Zaya, who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
"First of all, 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 says of his wife of five years. "And we take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously."
"So when a 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, the best feedback that we can," he continues. "And that doesn't change because sexuality's now involved in it."
Wade goes on to describe the moment when Zaya, who was born a boy with the name Zion, shared that she wanted to be referred to with female pronouns.
"Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home... and said, 'Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I'm ready to live my truth. And I want to be referenced as 'she' and 'her.' I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,'" he recalls. "And so internally, now it's our job to one, 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," Wade continues of the FX series that features many LGBTQ+ actors and characters. "We're just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunities to be her best self."
For Wade, part of supporting his child comes with being a voice for her until she can be a voice for herself.
"Once Zion came home and said, 'Hey, you call me Zaya. I'm ready to take on this.' I looked at her and said, 'You are a leader. You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice,'" he says. "Right now it's through us because she's 12 years old. But eventually it'll be through her."
Wade -- who is also dad to Kaavia, 1, Xavier, 6, and Zaire, 18, as well as guardian to his 18-year-old nephew, Dahveon -- previously opened up about supporting Zaya during an interview on the All the Smoke podcast, applauding her as having "strength and courage."
"I watched my son, from day one, become into who she now eventually come into," he said in December. "And for me it's all about nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes in my responsibilities. So, the only thing I had to do now is get smarter educate myself more. And that’s my job."
"... All these people that’s out there saying these things, look at yourself. Understand that you the one that got the issues. You’re the one that got the problem. It’s not the kids," Wade added. "... Everybody get used to it, man. This is the new normal."