MANILA, Philippines – Retired NBA star Dwyane Wade has opened up about his 12-year-old coming out as a transgender child.
The Miami Heat legend recalled the moment his daughter Zaya, born as Zion and assigned male at birth, told him and his wife Gabrielle Union how she wanted to “live my truth.”
“We are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re proud allies as well. We take our roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously,” Wade said in an episode of The Ellen Show, a talk show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, on Tuesday, February 11 (Wednesday February 12, Philippine time).
“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 now.”
Zaya is Wade’s child with ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches.
"Zion, born as a boy, came home and said, 'Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I am ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as 'she' and 'her.' I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,'" shared Wade.
Last December, Wade responded to critics on Twitter who commented on the appearance of Zion, who sported a cropped top and long white nails, in a family photo Union posted on Instagram.
“Stupidity is a part 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. So we will continue to be us and support each other with pride, love & smile!” the three-time NBA champion wrote.
The couple said they’ve been educating themselves as actress Union also reached out to the cast of Pose, a television series that features a large cast of African-American transgenders.
“Now it’s our job to, one, go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have,” Wade said.
“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 is the father of 3 other children, 18-year-old Zaire and 6-year-old Xavier from previous relationships, and one-year-old Kaavia with Union.
On Tuesday, Union also posted a video of Zaya, noting that it’s “Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are.”