Former NBA star Dwyane Wade appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday to promote his upcoming ESPN documentary D. Wade: Life Unexpected. When discussing the “deeply personal” documentary, Wade also told DeGeneres about the time his 12-year-old daughter, Zaya, came out as transgender.
Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, have been outspoken advocates of the LGBTQ+ community, and Wade told the talk show host they sought information from stars of the TV show Pose, which features a number of talented trans actresses, in order to become more informed.
Wade: ‘Proud’ Ally to LGBTQ+ Community
Wade began by noting that he and his wife are “proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re proud allies as well,” he said. “We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously.”
Wade also shared the very personal story of how his daughter came out to him: “Once Zaya … originally born Zion as a boy, 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,’ … So internally, now it’s our job to … go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have.”
Wade also shared his thought process as a parent: “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,” he said. “And that doesn’t change because sexuality’s now involved in it.”
Dwyane Wade to Daughter Zaya: ‘You Are a Leader’
Wade and Union have always publicly supported Zaya, and the former NBA champion stressed the importance of ascertaining as much information as possible. “We’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunities to be her best self,” Wade said. He also shared his thoughts on Zaya being an advocate for trans youth everywhere:
“I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. You are a leader and this is 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’ll be through her.”
You can watch the segment of Wade’s interview with DeGeneres below.