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Posted under: Culture News

Dwyane Wade Continues To Show Folks How Parenting A Gay Child Is Done: LGBTQ People Are Normal, ‘Ones That Don’t Get It’ Are Different

"I had to look myself in the mirror and say ‘what if your son comes home and tell you he’s gay?'"

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union have been the poster parents for nurturing LGBTQ children. A recent interview with Wade, where he subtly embraces his child Zion's gender pronouns, is only furthering their status for some as an all-star family. 

The retired NBA star recently appeared on Showtime Basketball’s video podcast All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson to discuss his retirement, his time with the Miami Heat and his family. Throughout the interview with hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Wade discussed what it’s like to parent a child who identifies with the LGBTQ community. 

“In our household that’s all we talk about. We talk about making sure our kids feel seen by each of us,” Wade said. “Me and my wife talk about making sure our kids understand the power in their voice. We want them to be whoever they feel they can be in this world. That’s how I go. Understand you can be whoever, you can be whatever.” 

Zion, Wade’s second of three sons, has been open about his sexuality — with his step-mom supporting him at Miami Pride Parade. The famous couple has also posted photos of the pre-teen wearing heels, crop tops and acrylic nails. The family’s openness has brought much criticism, but the NBA hall of famer recognizes the backlash is something that comes with the territory. 

“First of all, you’re talking about strength and courage. My 12-year-old has way more than I have. You can learn something from your kids,” Wade said of Zion. 

“There’s some things that’s...while you’re trying to go down that process, this is what’s going to come at you. There’s going to be a lot of negativity, there’s going to be a lot of hate, and it’s not even just from my son’s sexuality, it’s just about being a young Black man,” the 37-year-old said. 

Along with actress and wife, Gabrielle Union, the two don’t shy away from shutting down the homophobes and using their platform to promote inclusivity.

“When I respond to things socially, I’m not responding because you hurt my feelings. I’m not responding because I even care enough of what you’re saying because, as we say in the hood, it’s ‘ignant,'” Wade said of clapping back at the social media trolls. “Why I’m responding is because I understand my platform. I understand that I’m speaking for a lot of people that don’t have the same voice I have as a father, or you know, I’m even speaking for my 12-year-old right now because I haven’t allowed him to sit in front of a microphone yet. But I’m speaking for so many others in the LGBTQ+ community.”

“They’re normal, they’re not even different," Wade said of LGBTQ folks. "Everybody get used to it.”

“The ones that don’t get it, the ones stuck in a box. You’re different, not the people out here living their lives, man, you know what I’m saying?" he said of those who criticize LGBTQ folks. "Ultimately, you want your kids to be free and live their lives.”

Wade also admitted to having to reflect on himself and his upbringing during his parenting journey and educate himself. 

“I had to look myself in the mirror when my son at the time was three years old and me and my wife started having conversations about us noticing that he wasn’t on the boy vibe as Zaire was on,” Wade continued. “I had to look myself in the mirror and say ‘what if your son comes home and tell you he’s gay, what are you going to do? How are you going to be? How are you going to act? It ain’t about him, he knows who he is, it’s about you. How are you.’”

He also assured Barnes and Jackson that while his children require different styles of parenting and forms of support, his role as their dad stays the same throughout. 

“I watched my son from day one become into who she now eventually has come into. And for me it’s all about nothing changes with my love. Nothing changes with my responsibilities. Only thing I have to do now is get smarter and educate myself more and that’s my job.”

As it's not an everyday occurrence — at least a widely visible one — folks on the Twitterverse couldn't help but to praise the man for his respect for his child's gender identity. 

Watch the full interview below:

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Miami native, recent Ithaca College grad, lover of Cuban food.