Update (February 12, 2020): In a moving Instagram post on Wednesday morning, Dwayne Wade’s oldest son Zaire expressed his support for his sister Zaya after their father revealed she was transgender.
The NBA legend spoke candidly about his family supporting his daughter coming out as transgender on Tuesday’s airing of The Ellen Show. Zaire, a highly recruited high school athlete, spoke about his relationship with Zaya and how he supported her decision.
View this post on Instagram
Man, I remember bugging my mom as a kid telling her I wanted a brother so bad. I was the only child looking for company and someone to look after and take care of. I have been blessed to have my best friend, Zaya with me for 12 years. We did everything together...we fought, we played, we laughed and we cried. But the one thing we never did was leave each other behind... I’ve told you that I would lay my life down to make sure you are ten toes down and happy on this earth. I don’t care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there’s no love lost on this side ✊🏾
“Man, I remember bugging my mom as a kid telling her I wanted a brother so bad. I was the only child looking for company and someone to look after and take care of. I have been blessed to have my best friend, Zaya with me for 12 years. We did everything together...we fought, we played, we laughed and we cried,” Zaire wrote.
“But the one thing we never did was leave each other behind... I’ve told you that I would lay my life down to make sure you are ten toes down and happy on this earth. I don’t care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there’s no love lost on this side,” he added.
Fans commented under the 18-year-old’s post sharing their positive remarks on his unwavering support of his sister.Dwyane and his wife, Gabrielle Union, have been vocal about their efforts to support Zaya. During his interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Wade said Union reached out to the cast of Pose for additional support and guidance. The television series is comprised of members from the LGBTQ+ community.
Original story (February 10, 2020): Dwyane Wade's is continuing to throw his support behind the LGBTQ community after an appearance on The Ellen Show where he announced his daughter's coming-out as transgender.
During the Tuesday episode, Wade opened up about being a supportive parent while navigating the waters of gender identity with his daughter, 12-year-old Zaya. The basketball champion explained how important it was he and his wife, Gabrielle Union, remain vessels of information for their children.
Wade, who played for the Miami Heat, told Ellen DeGeneres he and his wife "are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we're proud allies as well."
The 38-year-old said Zaya, formerly Zion, came home one day and explained she was ready to live her truth. She expressed her desire to be referred to as she and her and to be called Zaya.
DeGeneres mentioned how disappointed parents become when their children don't follow preconceived paths, however, the newly retired athlete said he is optimistic.
"I looked at her and said 'You are a leader,'" Wade said. "Right now it's through us because she's 12 years old, but eventually it will be through her."
Union has also been publicly supportive of Zaya's identity, including taking the family to the 2019 Miami Pride, as Blavity previously reported.
Twitter has heralded Zaya's parents as heroes while highlighting their unconditional love for her and their unwavering determination to efficiently and responsibly assist her in living her best life.
Gender nonconforming children deserve to be heard, loved, and supported in their authenticity. @DwyaneWade + @itsgabrielleu continue to demonstrate phenomenal parenting with their love for Zaya! https://t.co/2OCsKPWN5m— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) February 11, 2020
On Tuesday, Union posted a video to Twitter of Zaya explaining to Wade her outlook on identity.
In a time where there are relentless attacks on trans and non-binary children, I can't tell you how much hope I draw from @itsgabrielleu and @DwyaneWade supporting their child so proudly. Dwayne Wade appeared on Ellen to talk about this and their child's authentic name: Zaya <3 https://t.co/S4mX8jrpEu— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) February 11, 2020
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. pic.twitter.com/G2lLVdD2VT— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 11, 2020
"What’s the point of being on this Earth if you’re gonna try to be something you’re not. It’s like you’re not even living as yourself which is the dumbest concept to me." Zaya told her dad. "Be true and don’t really care what the stereotypical way of being you is."
Wade asked his daughter about the possibility of being hurt for living her truth, and Zaya, although aware of the dangers, still maintained the importance of self.
"Yeah I know it can get tough, but I think you push through and you be the best you. Especially more recently it’s become more accepting, even though there’s obviously a lot of people out there that are really set in, you know, back in the days way of mind. but I think even through hard times, you gotta just push through. I mean like it’s worth it. I feel it’s very worth it when you reach that point of like yourself," she said.
"Feeling like you don’t have to hide?" Wade asked.
"Where you can look in the mirror and say like 'hi' to yourself, like 'nice to meet you,' instead of like 'Hm I don’t really know who I am.' It’s like a full-on identity crisis," she said.
Zaya isn't just receiving unwavering support from her dad and stepmom. Her older brother has spoken out on Instagram. Back in December, Wade's oldest son Zaire put up a picture sitting alongside Zaya with the caption "We didn't ask for y'all opinion."