Following Dwyane’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in which the former NBA star said that his daughter, Zaya, 12, had come out as transgender and prefers to use female pronouns, the Wade family became a hot topic among several media outlets and on daytime television. Williams discussed the story during her “Hot Topics” section on Wednesday, February 12, per Hollywood Life. The talk show host shared the story with her audience and became emotional as she discussed Zaya’s bravery for expressing who she is at a young age.
“I want to shout out to young Zaya Wade,” Williams began, with tears in her eyes. “The quicker you figure out who you are or who you want to be in life, the easier life gets as you get older, that’s what I’ve discovered. At 12-years-old a lot of us didn’t know who we were and we figure it out until we get to high school or college, or we’re in our 30s.”
Williams also applauded Zaya’s ability to stand proud in the age of cyberbullying. The preteen and her parents have received flack online in the past for allowing their daughter to embrace her feminity through wearing acrylic nails and high heels. Williams also shared that Zaya’s life isn’t meant for those who may not understand or accept her transition.
“For those of you who don’t understand it or don’t like it — don’t say anything,” Williams said as she concluded the topic. “This is a child who has figured out more about her life than we had when we were 12!”
Wade announced on Tuesday, February 11 that his daughter, who was born as Zion, wanted to be referred to as Zaya moving forward. The former Miami Heat player said that both he and Union have done their best to educate themselves about transgender people and both consider themselves to be supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. He shared that Union even reached out to several cast members of the FX show Pose. The show, which is based on the ballroom scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, is the first show to have a large number of trans actors in starring roles.
Shortly after the announcement, Union and Wade both tweeted their support for their child. Union shared on Twitter that she is
“so proud” of Zaya and described her stepdaughter as “compassionate, loving,” and “whip-smart.”