Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are fully supportive of his 12-year-old child identifying as transgender.
During his recent appearance on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” the proud dad opened up about the day Zaya, who was named Zion at birth, came out to him and wife Union, as ET reports.
“Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home… and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys,” Wade recalled. “‘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.”
The former Miami Heat star said he commended Zaya for her courage.
“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.”
Union, his wife of five years, has been equally supportive of Zaya’s journey and has even reached out to some of her Hollywood connections for guidance.
“And so internally, now it’s our job [as parents] to one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have,” he explained. “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 opportunities to be her best self.”
The 38-year-old father says neither he nor Union take their duty as parents lightly and that they are all in, no matter what happens with their kids.
“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 told Ellen. “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. And that doesn’t change because sexuality’s now involved in it.”
Wade has kept to his word when it comes to supporting both Zaya and his other children, notably sticking up for the 12-year-old when she faced criticism in a family photo last year.
In November 2019, he quickly shut down critics after Zaya was spotted wearing acrylic nails in a family photo Union shared on Instagram.
Grateful ❤❤❤ Happy Thanksgiving good people. To all the friends and family that have my back and all the friends and family I’ve never met who show love and support when everyone is looking and when no one is looking…All praise, gratitude and thankfulness
“I’ve seen some post-thanksgiving hate on social about my family photo,” he tweeted. “Stupidity is apart of this world we live in—so I get it. But here’s the thing—I’ve been chosen to lead my family not y’all.”
The former NBA star and actress Union share a 1-year-old daughter, Kaavia. He is also a father to Xavier, 6, and Zaire, 18, as well as a guardian to Dahveon, 18, who is his nephew.