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Dwyane Wade, the former NBA player, recently appeared on “The Ellen Show,” to discuss parenting a child who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

As we’ve reported before the Wades have been extremely supportive of their 12-year-old, attending the Pride parade as a family, using correct pronouns, and allowing her to express the truth of her identity.

During his sit down with Ellen Degeneres, which will air today, Wade shared that his 12-year-old will now go by the name of Zaya and will use feminine pronouns.

Wade told Ellen about the importance of giving her “the best opportunity to be her best self.”

Wade said, “Me and my wife Gabrielle Union are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community. And we are proud allies as well. We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously. So when our child comes home with a question, when a child comes home with an issue, when a child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can, to give them the best feedback that we can — and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”

Wade said, “So once Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home — first Zion, I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion, born as a boy — came home and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as she and her, I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,’”

Wade shared that in response to Zaya’s admission, he and Gabrielle have been doing the work to make sure she has information and support from her community members.

“…my wife reached out to everybody on the cast of  “Pose”— we’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.”

Wade said that by living her truth, Zaya has become the leader of the family.

“Once Zaya came home and said, ‘I want you to call me Zaya and I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice.’ Right now it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her.”


Since the interview with Ellen has gone public, Dwyane and Zaya have added additional context to the announcement.

Zaya: “I would say, don’t even think about that just be true to yourself. What’s the point of being on this earth if you’re going to be someone you’re not. You’re not even living as yourself. It’s just like the dumbest concept to me. Be true and don’t really care what the stereotypical way of being you is.”

Dwyane: Even when people are mean?

Zaya: I know it can get tough, definitely. But I think you push through and you be the best you. Especially more recently, it’s become more accepting—but I think even through hard times you gotta just push through. It’s worth it. It’s very worth it when you reach that point of yourself.

Dwyane: Feeling free. Feeling like you. Feeling like you don’t have to hide.

Zaya: Like you can look in the mirror and say hi to yourself. ‘Nice to meet you.’ Instead of like, ‘Umm I don’t really know who I am.’ It’s like a full identity crisis.

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