Dwyane Wade and his family have been showing their public support for his daughter Zaya who recently came out as transgender. In a new interview, the NBA star revealed his child has identified as transgender since she was 3-years-old, and the preteen has been the family’s “leader” through this process.
The Miami Heat great has been giving several interviews lately in promotion for his upcoming ESPN documentary D. Wade: Life Unexpected and the subject of his 12-year-old identifying as transgender has come up often. Earlier today, he appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and opened up about trying to be an ally to not only his daughter but to the LGBTQ+ community as well.
Speaking to the show’s host, Robin Roberts, Wade says that Zaya has known from a very young age that she identifies as a “straight trans” girl.
“She’s known it for nine years. She’s known since she was 3 years old,” the 38-year-old said on the show, via Twitter.
“Along this way we’ve asked questions and we’ve learned.”
He recognized in Zaya’s early years that he not only had to ask her questions, but it was important to ask questions of himself.
“I knew early on that I had to check myself,” Wade said on the morning talk show.
The father-of-four acknowledges that in the past he used the wrong language when speaking to teammates and friends about transgender individuals.
“I’ve been a person in a locker room that has been a part of the conversation that has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words myself,” the 2006 Finals MVP said.
Watching his daughter grow up offered a new perspective to the superstar athlete. He wondered what his reaction would be if Zaya – born Zion – came home one day and came out as transgender. Wade says this introspection helped him better understand his daughter.
Their entire family has offered support for the young girl, but it has been the 12-year-old who has taken the lead.
“We decided to listen to [Zaya] and she’s leading us along this journey,” he said on the ABC show, “[Zaya’s] our leader.”
The NBA legend offered up advice to other parents who are in similar positions. He stresses how important communication with your kids can be, and to keep an open mind in order to gain a better understanding.
“We’re learning from our 12-year-old. We’re literally learning from our child,” Wade told Roberts.
The family has rallied around Zaya since it was publicly announced that she is transgender. Her older brother, Zaire posted a heartfelt message on Instagram along with throwback pictures from when the two were little children.