NBA superstar Dwyane Wade‘s daughter, 12-year-old Zaya Wade, is ready to be a voice for the voiceless. Some time ago, Zaya sat her father and her step-mother, actress Gabrielle Union, down to ask them to start using her preferred pronounces, she and her.
As Wade explained in an interview with Ellen Degeneres, Zaya was born a boy named Zion. The proud father of four then told the story of how his daughter came out as transgender to him and Gabrielle.
Dwayne Wade Talks About the Moment His Daughter Came Out to Him and His Wife
“Once Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth. And I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.'”
That’s when Wade and Union sprang into action by learning all they could in order to help their daughter make informed decisions and live her life in the best possible way. And while Wade admits his love for his daughter can only go so far, he knows Zaya is ready to be the voice the world needs, as well as their leader. Wade added:
“We are proud when I said proud, proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re proud allies as well. We take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously. 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 because sexuality is now involved in it.”
Union, although not on The Ellen Show with her husband, also took a moment to sing her step-daughter’s praises shortly after Wade’s interview. On Instagram, Union shared a video of Zaya speaking her truth.
The proud mother wrote, “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. Love and light good people.”
In the video, Zaya talked about people who are worried about not being accepted, telling those people to just stay true to themselves. “Because what’s the point of being on this earth if you’re gonna try to be someone you’re not,” Zaya said. “It’s like you’re not even living as yourself. It’s just like the dumbest concept to me. It’s like, be true and don’t really care what like the stereotypical way of being you is.”
Even when the going gets tough, Zaya says, “Push through. You be the best you.” She added that it makes it easier knowing that the world is becoming more and more accepting. “It’s worth it, it’s very worth it when you reach that point of being yourself.”
Zaya’s older brother, Zaire, is also showing his support for his little sister as well. In an emotional Instagram post, the 18-year-old said he would give it all up for his sister’s happiness.
Union also thanked the many people who helped her and Wade find information, resources, love, and encouragement, adding that they are allies who still have a lot to learn.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.