Dwayne Wade’s Daughter, Zaya Wade, Comes Out as Transgender

Ella Schuellerman, Arts & Life Editor

Retired NBA player Dwyane Wade and his family have been receiving more and more questions regarding his 12-year-old child, Zaya, who came out publicly as transgender on Feb. 11. 

This past week, the star basketball player told Ellen Degeneres he vividly remembers what he told Zaya when she came home from school one day and finally announced her truth. “I looked at her and said, ‘You are our leader. You are our leader and it’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice,’” Wade said. “Right now it’s through us because she’s 12 years old, but eventually it will be through her.”  

Wade recalls this touching moment and conversation mainly being about Zaya wanting to clarify her pronouns with the family, asking them to use she/her instead of her sex-assigned-at-birth pronouns. 

An outcry of support has followed after both Dwyane and his wife, Gabrielle Union, have shown a united front of support for their daughter. Union tweeted a video of Zaya and her dad driving in a golf cart as she announced how good it feels to live your truth. 

In the tweet, Union said, “Meet Zaya. She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s OK to listen to, love and respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people.” The tweet now has 8.3 million views. 

More and more people across the world are becoming more accepting of different gender identities and sexualities, but there is still a huge stigma and controversy. It is also very clear that in professional sports, there is still a shocking amount of hatred towards people who are on a different gender or sexuality spectrum rather than the heteronormative expectations of society.

Zaya Wade and her family attended the Miami Pride parade last year. Zaya wore acrylic nails during the parade and was viciously attacked on social media for it. This simply goes to show that even though acceptance is on the horizon, some people still have it in their heads that it is acceptable to spew hate towards a 12-year-old. 

Reporter Dave Dirin, from The Nation, stated, “Dwayne Wade is not doing anything special, or at least not anything that an ideal society should perceive as special. He is simply being a loving father. But in our society, warped as it is by a stunning array of hatreds, love can often be a radical act.”

Dwyane Wade is doing what all fathers should do: supporting his children. “We are proud — and when I say proud, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we are proud allies as well. We take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously,” said Wade. It is with Wade’s support and platform to support his own daughter, there is hope that other young members of the LBGTQ+ community will know that there is love and a place for them all in this world.