Dwyane Wade has always thought of himself as a cool dad – the type of father his children could confide in, whenever needed. Unfortunately, Wade was forced to re-evaluate his role as a father when he learned his 16-year-old daughter, Zaya, who was assigned male at birth, was scared to come out to him as trans.
On Tuesday (June 27), Wade was invited to the annual Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Amplify Summit – where he revealed how he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, learned of his daughter’s (her step-daughter) identity and, more importantly, how they learned to accept and affirm her transformation into a female.
Zaya first came out as gay while completing a school assignment for her teacher, who is openly gay. She felt comfortable enough to discuss her changing identity with her teacher, but was terrified when it came time to tell her father.
“I came home and I just remember my daughter—my child—being scared to talk to me, like hiding in my wife’s arm in the chair,” Dwyane Wade said at the Amplify Summit – he didn’t understand why she was scared of his reaction. “I think I’m just the dad that’s like, ‘Hey, come and tell me anything. I’m a cool dad.'”
He came to the realization that he wasn’t the type of father he thought he was – and that hurt. “That first moment of seeing that—and I was having a conversation yesterday, talking about this—I had to go look at myself in the mirror and ask why was my child scared to tell me something about herself,” he explained.
After some reflection, he discovered that as parents (and as people, in general), we tend to ‘pur our fears and everything on our kids’ – and he realized that’s exactly what he was doing with Zaya. He had to ask himself what it was about his masculinity that was leaving his child terrified of coming out to him as trans.
Dwyane Wade Had to Learn to Let His Daughter Take Control of Who She Is
Wade and Union first learned of Zaya’s affiliation with the LGBTQ+ community in 2016 and she officially came out as transgender in 2020. According to Dwyane, the most difficult part of that process was ‘shutting out the world and shutting out the people that really are not in the circle, but that have opinions.’
He learned there was so much he didn’t know about his child and admitted there was ‘so much education that needed to happen.’ By becoming a better listener and allowing his daughter to take control of who she is – both on the inside and out – he was able to open up that line of communication with Zaya.
Dwyane Wade was joined by several other panelists at the CAA Amplify Summit on June 27 – including fellow NBA player, Chris Paul. Others to speak at the event were Halle Bailey, Becky G, Yara Shahidi, Jessica Alba, Jillian Mercado, Ava DuVernay, Blitz Bazawule, Quinta Brunson, and much more.
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.