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Dwyane Wade introduces daughter Zaya

by Courtney Deeren
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 01:00 pm
Dwyane Wade holds Zaya after playing at home for the Miami Heat, Wade has strongly supported Zaya since she revealed her identity.
Dwyane Wade holds Zaya after playing at home for the Miami Heat, Wade has strongly supported Zaya since she revealed her identity.

Former NBA player Dwyane Wade and wife Gabrielle Union have recently shared their support for their 12-yearold daughter, Zaya, who has come out as transgender. Wade first confirmed Zaya’s identity on The Ellen Degeneres Show after receiving Zaya’s permission and support to talk about the family's journey through this new territory. 

“This is her life every day; this is no game to us,” Wade told USA Today. “We're all about protecting her heart, we’re about protecting her joy and to do that, we have to support her.” 

Wade also opened up about being ignorant until Zaya had this discussion with her parents. 

 “I’m not going to sit here and act like we have all the answers,” Wade said. “I’m not going to sit here and act like before our child came home and sat us down, that we weren’t ignorant parents when it comes to the world. When I say we’re learning from our 12-year-old, we’re literally learning from our child.” 

When Zaya figured out her own identity, that’s when she sat her parents down for a talk. She was the one who initiated gender identity research on her own before explaining to Wade and Union what she truly felt. 

“I don't think I'm gay,” he recalled her saying. “This is how I identify myself. This is my gender identity. I identify as a young lady. I think I’m a straight trans (girl) because I like boys.”

Wade also remembered being the “person in the locker room” who said things he shouldn’t have or that may have been offensive. When he really sat himself down and asked if that was who he wanted to be or what would happen if one of his children came out to him he decided that wasn’t what he wanted to portray anymore. 

After Zaya came out to her family they quickly moved to educate themselves by reaching out to other members of the LGBTQ community they knew and doing their own research. 

 Vanessa Clark wrote on Vox about her own experience as a black trans woman and how Wade’s support of his daughter is a turning point for the black trans community — one that has received very little representation as of late. 

“According to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 Black and African American LGBTQ Youth Report, 77% of black youth said they have heard family members say negative things about LGBTQ people, 47% have been taunted or mocked by family for being LGBTQ,” Clark wrote. “67% of black trans youth specifically say their families make them feel bad because of their trans identity. According to the LGBTQ Task Force, nearly half of black transgender people have attempted suicide.”

When the Ellen episode aired, Union also posted a video on Twitter which read: “Meet Zaya. She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are.” In the video, you can see Zaya sitting beside Wade asking, “What’s the point in being on this earth if you’re going to try to be someone you’re not?”

Not all responses have been so positive toward the Wade family, however. Daily Wire reported rapper Boosie Badazz, whose real name is Torrence Hatch Jr., criticized Wade. 

“I gotta say something about this s---, bro. Dwyane Wade, you gone too f------ far, dawg,” Hatch said in an Instagram video posted Wednesday. 

The video went on to say, “that is a male. A 12-year-old. At 12, they don’t even know what they next meal gon’ be. They don’t have s--- figured out yet. He might meet a woman, anything, at 16 and fall in love with her. But his d--- be gone — how he gon’ — like, bruh, you going too far, dawg. Don’t cut his d--- off, bruh. Like, bruh, for real, if he gon’ be gay, let him be gay.”

The article covering Hatch’s post by Daily Wire consistently misgenders Zaya, referring to her with he/him pronouns. 

Both Daily Wire and Hatch call attention to the ugly parts of society who are unaccepting of those in the LGBTQ community. Wade and Union’s decision to support their child no matter what and — what’s more — educate themselves on the topic shows that we are growing as a people and becoming more open minded. Unfortunately, with every step forward, we will be met with several more steps back. 

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